TUCSON DESERT ART MUSEUM EXHIBITION
December 15, 2021 @ 8:00 am - June 30, 2022 @ 5:00 pm MST
TUCSON DESERT ART MUSEUM PRESENTS A NEW EXHIBITION: SACRED DANCERS: CEREMONIAL NAVAJO WEAVINGS
This exhibition honors and helps to explain Navajo ceremonial weavings known as “Yei”.
Tucson Desert Art Museum: 7000 East Tanque Verde Road, Tucson, AZ 85715
When: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 to June 30, 2022
Cost: Admission $10 adults; $8 seniors; $6 Students; Members free
The exhibition will feature Yei, Yeibichai, and sandpainting textiles telling the history of weavers, including medicine man Hosteen Klah, who boldly portrayed ceremonial imagery in their weavings. On display are weavings from the Museum’s permanent collection, as well as weavings generously on loan by Steve and Gail Getzwiller and Nizhoni Ranch Gallery in Sonoita.
In the early 1900s, many Anglo tourists were fascinated by Native American religion. Encouraged by traders capitalizing on this trend, Navajo weavers developed a new genre: ceremonial weaving.
Traditionally, depicting the Yeis, or the Navajo Holy People, in permanent form was considered downright dangerous. Oftentimes, weavers faced intense pressure from their communities to not depict holy beings in their textiles.
Reconciling their reverence for their own religion with market demands, weavers wove creative rugs that were most often artistic interpretations of the sacred, rather than accurate replicas of religious imagery.
Featuring Yei, Yeibichai, and sandpainting textiles, Sacred Dancers tells the history of weavers who brought us ceremonial imagery through their art.
Rhonda Smith, Executive Director at the Museum explains, “Sacred Dancers” is very meaningful to us here at the Museum as it highlights a portion of our collection that we feel is exemplary: its Yei and Yeibichai textiles. With the added pieces from the amazing personal collection of Steve and Gail Getzwiller, I don’t believe there is a better sampling of these types of early Navajo ”Yei” textiles on view anywhere in this country right now. This was a monumental undertaking during the pandemic to organize and coordinate this quality of an exhibition and it has turned out so nicely for our Museum Curator, Alyssa Travis. We are thrilled to present this important portion of Navajo culture to our guests.”
About Tucson Desert Art Museum
The Tucson Desert Art Museum, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, opened its doors on November 1, 2013, with a mission to display art and artifacts of the Desert Southwest and its surrounding regions, and educate our guests about the history, cultures, and art of the region. At the core of the Museum is one of the Southwest’s premier collections of Navajo and Hopi pre-1940s textiles, including displays of chief’s blankets, Navajo saddle blankets, optical art textiles and Yei weavings. The Museum also has a diverse range of historical artifacts, classic and contemporary Southwestern paintings. Special highlights of the museum include exhibits on Navajo sand painting, early armaments of the Southwest, and artifacts from the Mesoamerican period. Our motto is “visualize history through art.” We invite our guests to immerse themselves in history through our beautiful art!