Native Visions Reimagined in Glass with Dr. Letitia Chambers
Dr. Letitia Chambers will present a program discussing glass art created by American Indian artists. Chambers is the curator of the exhibit Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass, which is slated to travel to ten major museums around the U.S. over the next four years. She also authored the beautifully illustrated book of the same name, which is now in its third printing. The exhibit includes 120 glass art creations and tells the story of how glass art came to Indian Country.
Leading glass artist Dale Chihuly was the first to introduce glass blowing to American Indian students, which has led over the past 50 years to the creation of an exceptional body of work. In turn, Chihuly was influenced by Native arts. The reciprocal nature of this influence, with Chihuly’s own art enhanced by the inspiration of Native design, is a serendipitous result. Chihuly’s first Native-inspired works in glass were created in 1975, shortly after he created a glass art curriculum and taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Chihuly’s first Native-inspired works in glass incorporated glass threads fused onto the surface of blown cylinders to create designs based on patterns in Navajo weaving. Chihuly art currently on exhibition at The Community Library features a series of these blown glass cylinders.
The glass art created by American Indian artists not only is a personal expression of each artist but also is imbued with their cultural heritage. Whether reinterpreting traditional stories and designs in the medium of glass or expressing contemporary issues affecting tribal societies, Native glass artists have created a content-laden body of work. These artists have melded the aesthetics and properties inherent in glass art with their cultural ways of knowing. The result is a stunning collection of artworks. Dr. Chambers’ presentation on Native glass art will include slides with images from the book she authored, Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass, as well as from the exhibit of the same name.
The program will be livestreamed and available to view later. Click here to watch online.
Dr. Letitia Chambers is a former chief executive officer of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. In positions in government, Dr. Chambers served as Staff Director of two U.S. Senate Committees and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly. She also headed the state system of higher education in New Mexico. Her private sector experience includes serving for twenty years as President of a Washington, DC, based public policy consulting firm. Dr. Chambers retired from the Heard Museum in 2012 and now lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she maintains a part-time consulting practice. She has served on over 25 boards of directors over her career, including the Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the Adams National Bank in Washington DC, Board Chair of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, and Board Chair of the National Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums.