Montana State University — College of Arts and Architecture — President’s Fine Arts Series 2010-2011

The Black Route West : Manifesting Destiny

Tony Gleaton


September 20th

Reynolds Recital Hall
Pre–event reception starts at 6:30

This year, due to generous underwriting, the President’s Fine Arts Series will be presented at no cost.

To reserve tickets call:994-4405

Tony Gleaton was born in 1948 in Detroit, the youngest son of a elementary school teacher and a police officer. In 1959 his family moved to California where he lived till joining the Marine Corps in 1967 at the age of 19. After completing a tour of duty in Vietnam he returned to California and a undergraduate admission to UCLA. Becoming interested in photography in 1974 he pursued the interest on his own, eventually traveling to New York where he worked as a photographic assistant and various other jobs as he aspired to become a fashion photographer. In 1980 he left New York, hitchhiking throughout the American West doing odd jobs and photographing Cowboys. Finally concentrating on Native American ranch hands and Blacks Rodeo riders. He stopped in Texas where he was befriended by a group of Black Rodeo performers. Those times in Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Kansas and Colorado eventually formed the core of his COWBOYS: Reconstructing an American Myth. A series of Photos and portraits of African–, Native–, Mexican and Euro–American Cowboys.

In the process he was introduced to Mexican rodeo and began traveling to and from  Mexico with a group of Charros from Los Angeles. Sharing an apartment with a stunt man from Churubusco Studios in Mexico City 1982 through 1988, began a seven year period of extensive travels in Mexico. Two years latter Tony established a household with the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico where he came and went for almost two years before traveling to Guerrero and Oaxaca. There he began his most well known project, “Africa’s Legacy In Mexico” (photographs of the present day descendants of the Black African slaves brought to New Spain in the 15, 16 and 1700’s). Africa’s Legacy was eventually exhibited by the Smithsonian Institutions Traveling Exhibition Service in the US and toured in Mexico and Cuba by the Mexican National Council of Art. Tony worked from 1992 through 1996, expanding  his project to include Central and South America. Traveling over 50,000 miles on the ground to over 16 countries to complete, Tengo Casi 500 Años: Africa’s Legacy In Mexico, Central & South America.

In 1996 he returned to Northern Mexico, to the Sierra Madre Occidental, living with and photographing the Cora, Huichol, Tarahumara, Yaqui, Apache and the coastal dwelling Seri.