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Sandra Hale Schulman
Special to ICT

The latest: A new show features artist-designed textiles influenced by adobes, a Navajo artist gets a retrospective, immersive art merges with dance and a weathered mural by an acclaimed artist gets new life

ART: New show features textiles based on adobe architecture

Santa Clara Pueblo artist Rose B Simpson — perhaps best-known for her work in ceramics — has created a new introspective body of work by experimenting with other materials and mediums.

The result is “Dream House,” a shift in Simpson’s practice from figurative-based installations to one that is rooted in personal experience and architecture.

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Inspired by Pueblo adobes, her ancestral landscape and magical realism, Simpson connects the threads in her life as Indigenous artist and mother.

A textile design by artist Rose Simpson, is part of an exhibition, "Dream House," of her works at the Fabric Workshop and Museum Studio in Philadelphia. The show, which features ceramics, sculptures and textiles, opened Oct. 7, 2022, and runs through March 26, 2023. (Photo by Carlos Avendano, courtesy of Fabric Workshop and Museum Studio)

The multi-room installation features the ceramics, textiles, video and sculpture she created, with the textiles reflecting the crosses and red-earth pigments found in the pueblo.

Simpson was encouraged to experiment for the introspective by the Fabric Workshop and Museum Studio in Philadelphia, which is hosting the exhibition.

“It’s been an honor working with Rose over the course of two years,” Christina Vassallo, the museum’s executive director, said in a statement. “The structure of the FWM Studio team and our residency program offered her the opportunity to experiment with different processes, such as architectural installation and film, that offer new modes of expression to this celebrated artist’s practice.”

“Dream House” opened on Oct. 7 and runs through March 26, 2023.

DANCE: Immersive installation debuts in Minneapolis

Choreographer and visual artist Rosy Simas Danse, Seneca, has created a hybrid dance/immersive art installation, “she who lives on the road to war,” on global loss, grief and community healing.

The installation — which imagines a world restored to relational balance with nature and with each other — will be performed in two venues in Minneapolis, Minnesota, through Dec. 15.

Choreographer and visual artist Rosy Simas Danse, Seneca, has a new installation that merges dance with immersive art, as shown in this photo of Lela Pierce performing. The installation, "she who lives on the road to war," will be shown in Minneapolis through Dec. 15, 2022, before moving on to other locations.  (Photo by Valerie Oliveiro, courtesy of All My Relations Gallery)

The work takes its title from the Haudenosaunee historical figure, Jigonhsasee, who encouraged war between tribes before he became an instrument of peace. His wisdom and vision helped Hiawatha and the Peacemaker bring the nations together as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

“Audiences are invited to gather, rest, grieve, condole with one another, and to consider how we can all work towards reconciliation during the dual pandemics of systematic racism and COVID-19,” Rosy Simas Danse said in a statement.

Expressing herself in dance, her work investigates how culture, history and identity become stored in the body and develop in movement. For more than 20 years, she has created works from a Native feminist perspective that address political, social and cultural subjects.

Her work has drawn support from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation and McKnight Foundation, and she is a Dance USA Fellow.

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“she who lives on the road to war” will have dual premieres at the Weisman Art Museum and at the Twin Cities’ Native community’s All My Relations Arts. After its performance run in Minneapolis, the work will tour in New York City, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and other locations.

ART: Navajo illustrator gets retrospective

A new retrospective at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian features the works of the late Navajo artist Mary Morez, an influential figure in Native art whose work merged Navajo art styles with modernism and semi-abstraction.

Morez’s multi-media works ranged from stylized paintings to realistic drawings that depict daily Navajo life.The exhibition, “The Mary Morez Style: Transformations of Tradition,” opened Oct. 8 and runs through March 12, 2023 at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The works of Navajo artist Mary Morez such as this drawing, "Study of a Navajo Woman," will be featured at a retrospective at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from Oct. 8, 2022, through March 12, 2023. Morez died in 2004. (Photo courtesy of Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian)

Morez created book and record illustrations, textiles and graphic designs, and was an art consultant to the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art, now the Wheelwright Museum. She was also curator of the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Adopted into a non-Native family after suffering from childhood polio, she drew upon her deep connection to her Navajo family, life and culture in her art. She died in 2004 at age 58.

She was also profoundly influenced by the Southwestern Indian Art Project after receiving a scholarship from the project.The latest exhibition examines the breadth and depth of Morez’s works, including her transformation of Native art traditions.

PUBLIC ART: Restoring George Morrison’s mural

Time and weather has taken its toll on the large mural created in 1974 by acclaimed Ojibwe artist George Morrison for an outer wall of the Minneapolis American Center.

The 17-foot-by-94-foot mural, “Turning the Feather Around: A Mural for the Indian,” which carries the same name as Morrison’s autobiography, is painted to look like native red cedar and features interlocking strips that take the shapes of Native geometric design.

This artist's rendering shows the 1974 mural by acclaimed Ojibwe artist George Morrison at the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a two-year restoration project repairs the weather-beaten mural. (Photo courtesy Two Pines Resource Group)

Now, an agreement has been reached with the Midwest Art Conservation Center to de-install, restore and conserve the architectural façade in a way that “keeps with the artist’s intent as an outward public-facing original art piece on the exterior of the building with explicit Native design,” according to an announcement from Sam Olbekson, the conservation center’s board president.

The center has also agreed to create preservation-focused opportunities for Indigenous communities by hiring two Native conservation technicians for six weeks. The technicians will work with the staff in the center’s labs to learn art handling and conservation, and assist with preparations for de-installation.

“We are so excited to work with the technicians on this project,” said Chief Conservator Megan Emery. “George Morrison is such an influential artist, and this monumental mural is a local treasure we are honored to help protect and preserve for future generations.”

The restoration will take about 24 months and is part of a renovation and expansion for the nonprofit center, which will gain an additional 21,576 square feet of new space.

Morrison — a founding figure in Native modernism — was best known for his vibrant landscape paintings and wood collages. Born in 1919 in Chippewa City, Minnesota, Morrison was a citizen of the Grand Portage Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. He died in 2000.

In April 2022, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 20 Forever stamps featuring five of Morrison’s abstract works, including several Lake Superior landscapes.

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