Artist: Alicia Nelson

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Navajo Song and Dance Basket (2007)

After watching a Ndáá’jí Da’azhish (Navajo Song and Dance) at the famous Navajo Shiprock Fair, Alicia Nelson wove this basket portraying eight brightly dressed couples holding hands and dancing around a central fire. As Alicia explains, “The couples at the fair coordinate their clothing and can win prize money.” Imagine a drum keeping the beat as the dancers promenade. If you look closely, the dancers convey a sense of motion. Trying to move beyond blocky, stationary figures, Alicia uses shape, form, and small stitches to create realistic movement in her dancers. She embellishes the outer rim in the traditional pattern of black triangles and a red stripe commonly seen in ts’aa’ (ceremonial baskets).