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Willow Stories: Contemporary Navajo Baskets

“Placing the Stars” basket by Peggy Rock Black

For generations Navajo women have woven baskets for carrying and storing food or other household items and for use in various sacred ceremonies. Over time the gradual replacement of functional baskets with modern containers and the strict taboos dictating how and when to weave ceremonial baskets led to a decline in Navajo basket weaving.In the 1970’s a revival of basket making began to take place, centered around the Utah Navajos living in the Monument Valley area. Inspired by the art of the prehistoric Mibres and Anasazi, the work of neighboring tribes and their own sand painting and rug weaving, these weavers developed a new style filled with animal images, human figures and illusionary geometric designs. Perhaps most exciting is the recent evolution of story baskets that depict traditional beliefs, stories or legends, capturing some of the most important traditions and values of Navajo culture in their skillful compositions. This exhibit, curated by the Utah Arts Council’s Folk Art Program, features the work of ten of Utah’s contemporary Navajo basket weavers and includes their photographs and biographies.


2016-2017 Traveling Schedule

Duchesne Public Library, Duchesne, September 28 – November 10