For artist Holly Lee, many of the works featured in her new solo exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum hold a special significance.
Marie Watt (born 1967) is an American artist and citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians, one of the six tribes of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Watt has continued a tradition in Indigenous art, in which Indigenous insight is engendered at the exhibition venue. This exhibition will spotlight two textile works assembled from panels of cloth embroidered during sewing circles (images above). Watt pieced together these smaller panels into two monumental tapestries: in 2020, the 16-½ -foot-long Companion Species (At What Cost); and, in 2018, the 17-½-foot-long Companion Species (Calling All My Relations).
About her sewing circles, Watt reports that “stories and talk tend to flow,” bringing people together, and that “each person’s stitch is unique, like a thumbprint. As the threads intersect and blend, I see them as a metaphor for how we are all related.” There will be a Watt sewing circle on the occasion of this HAM exhibition project. It will take place on January 16 at Marc Straus Gallery in New York City. Register for this free event here.
Indeed, at the center of this show, are Watt’s diverse textile works. The selection presented foregrounds what she calls “Iroquois protofeminism and Indigenous teaching.” These include at least two overlapping topics: the recognition of Indigenous matriarchies (predating modern feminism by centuries, hence Watt’s use of the prefix proto); and the recognition of Indigenous ecological traditions of profound interconnection between people and the Earth.