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Melanie Yazzie brings a ‘Waking Dream’ to Western Spirit in Old Town Scottsdale

photo of Melanie Yazzie exhibit
Photo courtesy of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West/DigitalFreePress)
Navajo Artist Melanie Yazzie offers multifaceted artistic expression to Scottsdale
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West presents the opening of Waking Dream: Works by Navajo Artist Melanie Yazzie.

This unique exhibition will display the diverse talents of the renowned Navajo artist through her multi-faceted approach to artistry that spans printmaking, painting, sculpting, ceramics, and installation art, representatives of Western Spirit tell the Digital Free Press.

Ms. Yazzie’s art bridges cultures, inviting viewers to connect with and learn from her experiences as an Indigenous woman.

Through her work, she sheds light on the contemporary struggles and triumphs of Indigenous peoples, particularly women, navigating a post-colonial world.

Ms. Yazzie’s pieces often feature imagery of women from various indigenous cultures, highlighting matrilineal systems and the potential for female leadership.

“There are many layers to the works, and within the story many discover that our history is varied and deep,” Ms. Yazzie said.

“It is made clear that there are many Indigenous peoples in the world and we all have different stories and it sometimes has a sad connection to mainstream society. Often misunderstood and overlooked are ways we can all learn from each other and make a better world.”

Waking Dream: Works by Navajo Artist Melanie Yazzie marks a significant milestone in the museum’s commitment to showcasing the voices and perspectives of Indigenous artists. The exhibition promises to captivate audiences with its thought-provoking themes and stunning visual imagery.

Navajo Artist Melanie Yazzie offers multifaceted artistic expression to Scottsdale

Todd Bankofier, CEO and executive director of Western Spirit Scottsdale’s Museum of the West , offers a sense of excitement in anticipation of the exhibition.

“Melanie Yazzie’s work resonates deeply with our mission to promote understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures of the American West,” he said. “Her art is a powerful conduit for dialogue and reflection, inviting visitors to explore the rich tapestry of indigenous experiences.”

Ms. Yazzie says she hopes sharing her art with the world will add positive energy to those who experience it.

“Often in life, we wait until we fall asleep to dream. I, on the other hand, live in a space where much of what I make and see in my work comes from ever-present dreams,” she said. “I find that sharing this part of me brings good into the world.”

The exhibition will run through July 14, 2024.

Western Spirit features regularly changing and permanent exhibits of Western and Native American art and artifacts, entertaining events, and informative programs that bring the West’s heritage, culture, and community to life.

Current special exhibitions are Inner Light: The Art of Tom Gilleon, through August of 2024; Werner Segarra: Vaqueros de la Cruz del Diablo, through May 19, 2024; William Matthews: Decades, through Fall 2024; the Elliott Southwest Women Art collection preview, through Fall 2024; Kids in Focus: Focus on Western Spirit by local youth through August 2024, and “Dazzling Array: The Richard A. Gates Collection of Native American Jewelry,” currently on display.

Permanent exhibitions continuously on display include Canvas of Clay: Hopi Pottery Masterworks from The Allan and Judith Cooke Collection, featuring 65 of the finest examples of Hopi pottery spanning six centuries; the Frankie and Howard Alper Collection of John Coleman Bronzes; and The Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection, a showcase of more than 1,400 saddles, spurs, cowboy gear and other Old West objects.

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