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‘Clearly Indigenous’ Glassworks Inspired by Dale Chihuly
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Saturday, January 7, 2023
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

A groundbreaking exhibit of glass works by 33 contemporary indigenous artists will be the subject of a free presentation at 5 p.m. Monday at Ketchum’s Community Library.

Letitia Chambers, former CEO of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., will present “Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass” at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9.

The presentation is being held in conjunction with an exhibit of 21 blown glass cylinders featuring interpretations of native blanket designs by Dale Chihuly that can be seen in the library foyer through Jan. 21. It was Chihuly who introduced glass art to Indian Country.

The glass art that Chambers will talk about re-interprets traditional Native American stories or expresses contemporary issues affecting Indigenous Nations.

Chambers, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., curated the 120-piece exhibit, which is slated to travel to 10 major museums around the United States over the next four years. She also authored an illustrated book of the same name.

The Chihuly Blanket Cylinders: 1975-2016 exhibit in the Library’s foyer features 21 blown-glass cylinders created by glass maestro Dale Chihuly, who keeps a residence in Sun Valley with his wife, president and CEO of the Chihuly Studio Leslie Jackson Chihuly.

Influenced by Native arts, Chihuly created his first Native-inspired glassworks in 1975. He also created and taught a glass art curriculum to students at the institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, which led to the creation of the “Clearly Indigenous” works.

Chihuly’s glassworks incorporate glass threads fused onto the surface of the cylinders to create designs based on patterns in Navajo weaving. He researched blankets made by members of the Dine Navajo tribe after seeing rugs and blankets handloomed by Dine artists.

The collection of Blanket Cylinders currently on display in the library’s foyer was curated specifically for this exhibition and may never be grouped together again, said Carter Hedberg, the Library’s director of philanthropy and the instigator of the exhibit.

“Our community has been enjoying the Blanket Cylinders exhibit throughout this fall and winter,” said Martha Williams, the library’s director of programs and education. “We're eager for Dr. Chambers to give context to these works. Dale Chihuly supported glasswork among Native American artists, and their traditional artforms inspired him in turn. There's a beautiful reciprocity to this story.”

To see the presentation in person, RSVP at https://thecommunitylibrary.libcal.com/event/9898799.

The program will be livestreamed and available to watch later at https://vimeo.com/event/2690844.

 

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