“The Seminole Tribe of Florida are the most progressive and determined group of people I have ever met; their history of struggle, reinvention and adaptation is one of the greatest untold stories I have encountered that must become a source of global inspiration,” said photographer Russell James describing the subject of art exhibition at the Stephan Weiss Studio in New York City.
Unveiled on 17 February 2015, the “Seminole Spirit” was inspired by The Seminole Tribe of Florida. The 30-piece collection, presented by Nomad Two Worlds, showcases the tribe’s culture, community, history, and most importantly their positive ‘spirit’ through the artistic vision of Russell James.
The red carpet event last February, hosted by Chief James E. Billie, Spiritual Leader Bobby Henry, Designer Donna Karan and Russell James, also featured VIP guests including fashion models Behati Prinsloo, Hailey Baldwin, Sofia Richie, Lais Ribeiro, Heather Marks, Sara Sampaio, Alexandra Agoston, Kelly Rohrbach, Hailey Clauson, Jourdan Dunn, Clair Westenberg, Devon Windsor, Elsa Hosk, Mina Cvetkovic, and Samantha Gradoville along with Mizou Peck and Derek Hough, among many others.
Russell James hoisting Behati Prinsloo over his shoulder for photographers immediately after he told the story about how he carried her through the water in the everglades during the shoot to protect her from alligators.
Behati Prinsloo in Balenciaga (head to toe)
Russell James standing on a table at the event welcoming guests and joking by thanking Behati “for being naked up a tree” but also stressed the importance of The Seminole Tribe of Florida who follows “forward thinking” and that the shoot was something done in that spirit for being something that is very “alive and relevant” with Behati.
Spiritual Leader Bobby Henry blessing the event and Chief James E. Billie thanking Russell for “sharing the images with the world.”
Following the event, guests headed to NYY Steak for dinner before attending the official after party at AVENUE.
Hailey Baldwin snacking on sliders at NYY Steak at the official dinner following the red carpet event.
Donna Karen chatting it up with Sofia Richie at Karen’s Urban Zen
PHOTO (Credit: Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images)
MORE: ABOUT SEMINOLE SPIRIT
In 2012, internationally renowned Australian born photographer Russell James met with the Chief of The Seminole Tribe of Florida, James E. Billie, to discuss Nomad Two Worlds, the steeply messaged fine art and cultural collaboration project that James founded in 2001. A bond was formed, and James embarked on a two-year exploration and artistic interpretation of The Seminole Tribe of Florida. During that time, James was given unfettered introductions to Tribe Members spanning all clans, privileged access to Seminole land, their homes, cultural sites and traditions. James’ artistic interpretation of The Seminole Tribe of Florida is entitled ‘Seminole Spirit’. Initially overwhelmed by accounts of the extraordinary hardships The Tribe has faced and overcome over the years, James developed great respect for their hard-won reputation as ‘The Unconquered’, and most of all, for their irrepressible will and ability to adapt, move forward and excel in the face of such adversity. James says, “Seminole Spirit is about the past and present being reconciled with a profoundly simple message – move forward together.”
During the creative process, James imagined and brought to life a single character to represent the core values of The Seminole Tribe as he had come to understand them. Equally inspired by James’ account of Seminole history, supermodel Behati Prinsloo agreed to become an artistic partner in the project. Ms. Prinsloo’s character ‘Seminole Spirit’ is the metaphor for the strength, vision, beauty and cultural relevance that James feels emanates from The Seminole Tribe of Florida. Ms.Prinsloo was taken deep into Seminole Lands to be photographed and filmed by James, using artistic concepts derived from his distinctive ‘Nomad Two Worlds’ project. The outcome is a stunning visual interpretation of The Tribe’s cultural progression and modern day relevance, delivered in sensual and dramatic themes through the vision of James.
The ‘Seminole Spirit’ fine art collection has been produced on exquisite handmade archival Japanese papers. The main collection is experienced with the support of multi-media art forms, including an art film featuring the spoken word of the Spiritual Leader of The Seminole Tribe, Bobby Henry, and a fine-art photography exhibition that incudes portraits of Tribal Members, cultural sites and breathtaking landscapes. ‘Seminole Spirit’ will be unveiled at a gala opening event o n February 17, 2015 at Stephan Weiss Studio in New York, a place that James refers to as the ‘spiritual home’ to all of his ‘Nomad Two Worlds’ art collaborations. The launch will co-hosted by Chief James E. Billie, Spiritual Leader Bobby Henry, Donna Karan, Behati Prinsloo and Russell James.