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Portrait of Elizah Leonard: “Strong Unrelenting Spirits” (Photo by Tom Jones)

Ho-Chunk photographer Tom Jones’ striking, oversized portrait of Elizah Leonard, part of his “Strong Unrelenting Spirits” series, is hanging in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., through February 2023. Earlier this year, it earned second place honors in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The beautifully rendered portrait of a young Ho-Chunk woman dressed in striking tribal garb is surrounded by an arc of rhinestones, shells and beads that were hand-applied by Jones himself, creating an image that shimmers beneath the gallery lights.

“The majority of what I talk about in my work is the beauty and resiliency of the Ho-Chunk culture, and the fact that we are still here,” says Jones, whose Ho-Chunk name, ChakShepSkaKah, translates to “White Eagle.” “It’s about educating others about the Ho-Chunk and about making us visible to them.”

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“Choka Watching Oprah” depicts the late Jim Funmaker. (Photo by Tom Jones)

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Photo by Tom Jones