Join Hadley Jensen and her guests as they consider the dynamic opportunities and unique challenges of curating for a digital platform. Their discussion will provide a window into the curatorial process that underpins Bard Graduate Center’s upcoming online exhibition, Shaped by the Loom: Weaving Worlds in the American Southwest, the first virtual exhibition to showcase the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)’s collection of Indigenous textiles from the greater American Southwest, set to launch in spring 2022. By focusing on creating a collaborative exhibition, produced with students, scholars, artists, and descendent communities, Jensen is both enabling new forms of curatorial scholarship and centering Indigenous perspectives and storytelling in exhibition interpretation. Shaped by the Loom places Indigenous aesthetics and ways of knowing at the center of Navajo textile production, highlighting the localized and land-based knowledge systems that guide the process behind the finished product. Rather than reifying the object, this perspective foregrounds the active and generative practices that shape and animate this art form. Striving to bring specificity to the documentation and interpretation of AMNH’s historic collection, this innovative digital project elevates the voices of contemporary Native artists and makers to express the cultural legacy and continued vibrancy of weaving traditions in the American Southwest.

Meet the Speakers

Rapheal Begay is a photographer and curator from the Navajo Nation. Currently based in Window Rock, AZ, he works as a public information officer for the Navajo Nation Division of Human Resources. In 2017, Begay obtained a BFA in art studio with a minor in arts management and an undergraduate certification in museum studies from the University of New Mexico. As one of “Twelve New Mexico Artists to Know in 2020,” Begay utilizes visual storytelling as a means to engage and explore, with respect to and stewardship of, the Diné way of life. Through curatorial collaborations, he highlights, celebrates, and advocates for Queer and Indigenous art throughout the Southwest.

Juliana Fagua-Arias
is an MA candidate at the Bard Graduate Center, as well as a designer and art historian. She studies the Pre-Columbian and Indigenous material culture of the Americas and the early modern period in Latin America. Fagua-Arias grew up in Colombia, where her interests developed to focus on the rich material culture of the Andes. Over the last year, her research has expanded to include the Indigenous nations of the North American Southwest, as she realized that the currently established national boundaries have historically been permeable. Fagua-Arias has researched dyeing practices in the Indigenous textiles of the North American Southwest, including the use of indigo, cochineal, and Germantown yarn in Diné, Pueblo, and Hispanic textiles. Her exhibition qualifying paper is focused on the artistic and commercial relationship between Asia and Latin America during the early modern period.

Hadley Jensen’s
research addresses the intersections among art, anthropology, and material culture. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in museum anthropology in a joint appointment at Bard Graduate Center and the American Museum of Natural History. Her current book project, Shaped by the Camera: Navajo Weavers and the Photography of Making in the American Southwest, examines the visual documentation of Navajo weaving through various modes and media of representation. Jensen believes in the close examination of objects and artworks as an integral part of learning about their material qualities and methods of production, and she is particularly interested in advancing interdisciplinary methodologies to better understand processes of making. In addition, she has hands-on experience learning Indigenous weaving and natural dyeing practices, which has strengthened and enlivened her work as an academic researcher, curator, and teacher.
Other Presentations in the Series:

Curators on Curating: Conserving Active Matter
April 30, 2021
12 – 1:30 pm

Curators on Curating: Threads of Power
June 10, 2021
12 – 1:30 pm