O’odham Himdag: Weaving a Way of Life
This exhibit features forty baskets from the University Museum collection representing works created by historic and contemporary Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Tohono O’odham (Papago) weavers of central and southern Arizona and northern Mexico. The O’odham Himdag, or desert people’s way of life, encompasses cultural knowledge, values, and beliefs, all which are woven into each basket. This exhibit showcases the materials, techniques, designs, functions and several identified individual artists behind this innovative and rich ongoing tradition.
O’odham Himdag: Weaving a Way of Life is funded by a grant from the Southwest and Border Cultures Institute of NMSU.
Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America
This exhibit features 28 textiles—flower cloths and embroidered story clothes—by those in the Hmong community. Hmong flower cloth (or paj ntaub) is one of the world’s great textile traditions and an excellent example of cloth as community. Despite its deep roots in Hmong culture, this complex art was not widely known outside Asia until after the Vietnam War, when Hmong refugees arrive in the United States. The works illustrate the profound relevance of textiles as infrastructure in the Hmong culture, and an art form that shifted as it adapted to fit new realities.
Organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national part of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the exhibition was first curated in 1999 by Carl Magnuson, a cultural anthropologist, working with a Hmong refugee community. Curatorial updates have been done by Geraldine Craig, who has published more than a hundred essays on contemporary art and Hmong textiles, in venues such as theHmong Studies Journal, The Journal of Modern Craft, Art in America, and Surface Design Journal. Craig is currently department head of art at Kansas State University, and previously served for six years as Assistant Director for Academic Programs at Cranbrook Academy of Art. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org
Light in the Desert: Photographs from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert by Tony “O’Brien
This exhibition was organized by the New Mexico History Museum, Department of Cultural Affairs, State of New Mexico, Santa Fe, and features 20 selenium-toned silver gelatin prints of photographs that will be displayed at the University Museum through January 31, 2015.
After being imprisoned in Afghanistan while on assignment for Life magazine in 1989, photojournalist Tony O’Brien sought solace and perspective at Christ in the Desert Monastery.
In 1995, O’Brien began a year of living and photographing this small contemplative community situated in the Rio Chama valley about seventy-five miles north of Santa Fe. During his stay, O’Brien was given free access to photograph the rituals and daily activities, both contemplative and secular, at the monastery. The resulting images not only portray a continuing relationship between the photographer and the community of monks at Christ in the Desert but constitute an important body of creative work.
The accompanying book Light in the Desert: Photographs from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert by Tony O’Brien with an essay by Christopher Merrill was published by the Museum of New Mexico Press.
Permanent Exhibit: “Pottery from the Americas”
The NMSU Museum is home to a unique and comprehensive collection of both prehistoric and historical pottery. This collection includes almost 600 pottery vessels that reflect the vibrant artistry and beauty of Southwestern and Mesoamerican ceramics. There is also an extensive type collection of sherds from New Mexico and Chihuahua to be explored, as well as other educational materials.