Obscura Gallery is proud to have facilitated a grant between one of our Gallery artists we represent, Manuello Paganelli, and the grantee Sharon Chischilly, a young Native American Navajo student at University of New Mexico for her photographic work on the Navajo reservation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Manuello Paganelli offers a small photojournalism grant each year to a deserving individual and this year he wanted to focus on giving the grant to a young Native American photojournalist. With University of New Mexico student Sharon Chischilly’s name on the forefront of our minds because of her incredible Covid-19 work showcased most recently in the New York Times, we shared her work with Paganelli and he was equally impressed.
“I received the name of Sharon Chischilly through Jennifer Schlesinger, the owner/curator of Obscura Gallery. From there I read a NYTimes article and saw the work she has been doing within her Native community on the heavy told Covid-19 has taken on them. I was quite impressed by the maturity, seriousness and depth of her work” – Manuello Paganelli
My name is Sharon Chischilly. I’m a junior at the University of New Mexico and a student photojournalist at the New Mexico Daily Lobo. I began my professional journalism career at the Daily Lobo in August of 2019, and since the pandemic started my work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Getty Images, and more. I have been documenting the COVID-19 pandemic in the Navajo Nation since the first cases surfaced on the Navajo homeland in March. I would use this grant to start saving up for a second camera to help me document the scenes on the ground in my homeland.
Sharon Chischilly was born and raised in the Navajo Nation, an area that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last six months, Chischilly’s photography has been featured in the Navajo Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other international outlets and as of November 16, she accepted a full-time position with The Navajo Times starting on November 23, 2020.
Sharon has also been photographing the Election 2020, and one of her videos has garnered over five million views on Twitter. Captured in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she was in the area photographing the community’s reaction to the election results when she caught sight of Ashkia “Kia” Randy as he left his car idling and jumped out onto Downtown Central Avenue to spontaneously perform a portion of a men’s northern traditional storytelling dance. Trujillo’s dance was part of a larger community celebration in honor of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s defeat of Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election. The dance is one that has been done for generations “to depict a successful hunt or a victorious battle” depending on the dancer, Trujillo said to the Daily Lobo in an interview. Sharon Chischilly captured the moment on video and posted it to her Instagram and Twitter accounts where the video had garnered 240,000 likes, over 34,000 retweets and more than 9,000 overwhelmingly positive comments. A number of verified Twitter users shared the video, including the rapper Common, Congresswoman Deb Haaland and actor and Indigenous rights activist Mark Ruffalo.
VIEW THE VIDEO HERE: https://twitter.com/Schischillyy/status/1325239287978233857
Manuello Paganelli of Italian-Cuban descent, grew up in Santo Domingo, Italy and Puerto Rico. After a mentorship with Ansel Adams, he worked as a photojournalist at the Chattanooga Times. In 1989, he began to explore Cuba, its land, its people, and its complex relationship with the USA. In 1995, he had his first solo photo show of his work on Cuba and that same year earned him a fellowship grant. The Washington Post wrote “Manuello Paganelli’s Cuban photographs are a brilliant window on a land and people too long hidden from North American eyes. Working in the tradition of Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, Paganelli brings an artist’s eyes and a native son’s sensibility to his superb photographs.”
In the early 1990s, he started work on his Black Cowboys series with a selection being featured at the Annenberg Space for Photography. In the summer of 2012, this same series was selected for the Photo Vernissage at the Manage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. His award-winning work has graced the covers and pages of many well-known magazines including GQ, LIFE, Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes, Newsweek, Men’s Journal, People, Time, Reader’s Digest, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and many more.