Craig Smith, Courtesy of the Heard Museum

Looking for some colorful inspiration and to learn a little about history? Art lovers can look forward to  Montclair Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles — which will open on September 11 of this year and will run through January 2, 2022. The exhibition focuses on Navajo (Diné) textile design and features seventy artworks from 1860-1930 and the present. 

 “The textiles presented in this exhibition are creations of weavers who wove for themselves- they are vibrant and unrestrained in both color and design,” says co-curator Velma Kee Craig (Diné).

Its main works are from nine respected contemporary weavers including D.Y. Begay, Marilou Schultz, Melissa Cody and Venancio Francis Aragon. The textiles reflect the experiences of Navajo people from the years 1863 through 1868. During this time period, more than 10,000 Navajo were forced by the U.S. government to march to an internment camp in New Mexico- Bosque Redondo. The survivors signed a treaty as an independent nation in 1868 and returned to their homeland, residing on a reservation from that point forward. As a result of their resettlement, Diné weavers gained new sources of inspiration and therefore utilized new features in their designs- such as those from Hispanic textiles. 

This exhibition was organized by Arizona’s Heard Museum, while Montclair Art Museum’s Curator of Native American Art, Laura J. Allen, arranged its presentation at the Mew Jersey museum. In addition to the artworks themselves, the exhibition will feature a room developed by ArtTable Fellow Larissa Nez (Diné), which spotlights the connection between weaving and Diné culture ideas as well as artistic practices. Visitors will also be able to experience Immersive music by composer and pianist Connor Chee (Diné) along with weaving tools and materials from the Montclair Art Museum in this room, elevating the exhibition’s strong cultural element. 

The Montclair Art Museum is currently closed to the public and will reopen on September 11. Check their website closer to the opening date for information regarding tickets.

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