Rafting, Venice Canals, Los Angeles, 1975
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Valena Broussard Dismukes is an American photographer of African, Choctaw, Saponi, and European heritage. Based in Los Angeles, she is an award-winning photo-journalist with a special interest in portrait, travel, and street photography. In addition, she is a writer and sculptor. Originally from St. Louis, she moved to California in 1960 and taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District, serving as mentor teacher and compensatory and gifted coordinator. From 1993-95, she was administrative assistant for the Educational Consortium of Central Los Angeles until her departure for a six month tour of Europe with her sister, Mary Ann Rock, who was also an artist.
In the main, people are the center of Dismukes' work. She uses photography to explore and understand the world, as it brings her in contact with fascinating people and their varied histories and cultures. Her travels have taken her to over sixty countries on six continents.
Dismukes has been a photographer since 1972. Her photographs have appeared in various publications including World Tennis, Essence, Cowboys and Indians, and Mother Earth. She has participated in over sixty solo and group shows and has been the recipient of grants from the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, the Long Beach Arts Council, the Indiana Humanities Council, and the Missouri History Museum.
A co-founder of the Alliance of Native Americans of Southern California, Dismukes has lectured at numerous institutions on the topic of Black Indians. She served as secretary of the American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California for ten years and now sits on the board of the Afr0AmerIndian Research and Cultural Center.
(Dismukes is the sole proprietor of Grace Enterprises which services as a conduit for her photography and sculpture.
Photograph of Dismukes by Martin Cox)