The Kohler Art Library’s current show, We Weave What We See, is a collection of Diné (Navajo) weavings by artist Dakota Mace. Mace’s weavings focus on re-interpreting the symbolic abstractions of Diné creation stories, cosmologies, and social structures using a combination of traditional and nontraditional materials. By incorporating new design and color techniques with traditional weaving methods she challenges the viewer to see the tradition of Navajo weaving within the fine arts lexicon.
Na’ashjéii Asdzáá (Spider Woman), who taught the ways of weaving, is one of the most important deities to the Diné and is the most prevalent motif used in my work. She was the first to weave her web of the universe while spreading Hózhó Náhásdlíí’ (Beauty Way) teachings of balance within the mind, body, & soul. This narrative formulates an understanding of certain aspects of Diné Bahané (creation story) as well as bringing Na’ashjéii Asdzáá into the fine art world.
It is believed that in order to understand the Diné, you must place yourself into the world of Diné tradition. There is a poetic understanding to our weavings; sacred ideologies are woven into each piece. They have a quiet voice that resonates deep within the object. A weaving is more than a pattern between warp and weft—it serves as a reminder on the importance of tradition and the belief of hajisí dígíí dahiistłó biihji nilłx (we weave what we see).
A reception will be held Friday, April 6 from 4:30-6:00 pm. The exhibit runs from March 1 through June 17.
Dakota Mace is a Diné (Navajo) artist from Albuquerque, NM. She received her MFA and MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI and her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is currently pursuing a second MFA in Textile Design in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. Her work focuses on translating the language of Diné weaving history as well as beliefs through different mediums and techniques. She continues to look to other cultures as forms of inspiration while teaching others about the importance of cultural appropriation in relation to Native American design.