EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR's NOTES
Greetings from the Executive Director.
I want to alert you to an exciting temporary public art project that New Mexico Arts is opening in May in collaboration with the Navajo Nation Museum. Our TIME (Temporary Installations Made for the Environment) project this year entitled Harmony in the Making: Hozho Nahasdlii, will open during a gala reception on May 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in downtown Santa Fe. The Navajo Nation Museum will host an opening on June 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. at their facility in Window Rock, Arizona.
For this land-based art event, public art manager Chuck Zimmer commissioned eight artists/artist teams to create temporary environmentally-based artworks across the Navajo Nation. TIME contractor Eileen Braziel of Santa Fe coordinated the project. Featured art reflects concepts and materials sensitive to the land and the people of the Navajo Nation.
Jury-selected artists include Navajo and non-native artists: Raven Chacon; Shane Hendren; Chrissie Orr, teamed with Susanna Carlisle and Bruce Hamilton; Andrea Polli, working with Venaya Yazzie and Esther Belin: Matthew Chase-Daniel; Don Redman: Anna Tsouhlarakis; and Will Wilson. The Navajo Nation Museum provided each artist with a cultural advisor, including a Navajo astronomer, a medicine man, a family of traditional weavers who dye wool, and an environmental activist.
Artworks will be exhibited at sites across Navajo Nation in both Arizona and New Mexico, including near Canyon De Chelly; Shiprock; Tse-Bonito; Waterflow; the Navajo Nation Museum and Navajo Zoo in Window Rock; and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe. Both museums will offer story boards of information to help visitors travel to each artwork site, including QR codes for smart phone users with access to additional information about the artists and New Mexico Arts. The museums are also providing maps and guided media in the Dine language. The exhibit closes September 15, 2012.
At an earlier briefing in January, we gathered with Manualito Wheeler, Clarinda Begay, and Eunice Kahn of the Navajo Nation Museum. I was struck by the innovation of the project as we learned that there is no Navajo word for TIME.
The project expands the view of collaboration within cultural contexts and land-based art.
"There has never been a project of non-natives and Natives collaborating on a land-based artwork on Native land", Wheeler stated in a press release announcing the project. "We are hoping the young budding artists are inspired by one of the most profound art concepts instead of traditional mediums in art."
Wheeler acknowledged that this art project has served as a kind of nation-building both with the Dine communities and with the state of New Mexico, which he called "healing."
Another TIME partner, is the Skylark Foundation in Los Angeles. Led by executive director, Barbara Schwan, the board approved a $5000 matching grant to help provide honorariums for the cultural liaisons from Navajo Nation working with the artists, as well as support for a Dine language expert to translate the artists' concepts into the Navajo language.
National Geographic's Four Corners Geotourism website features information about Harmony in the Making and our collaboration with the Navajo Nation Museum.
This is our eighth annual TIME project and the program continues to expand and evolve. The program began as a training opportunity for artists interested in gaining experience in temporary land-based art. Many partnerships have grown out of this project and there has never been a collaboration with the Navajo Nation on this level before.
TIME and especially our partnership with Navajo Nation Museum tie in with our state Tourism Department's new ad campaign, New Mexico True, that urges visitors to experience authentic adventures in our state. We invite you to get out on the road in the coming months and visit these unique art installations.