Artist: Elsie Holiday

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Optical Art Basket (1998)

Reminiscent of a stained-glass window, Elsie Holiday’s Optical Art is a masterpiece of composition and technique. This basket reflects Elsie’s interests in artistic styles from optical art to abstract design as she experiments with color and space. Her ability to interpret design from around the world and portray it through the medium of basketry is just one of the reasons she is regarded as a great artist. Elsie pushes her art into new realms, but always through the lens of Diné culture. Describing this basket, she says: “To me, that seems like a mirage, where you look out there and you see the wavy air, and you can see something in it . . . To me, to our tradition, the mirage is almost a beauty ceremony . .  When you see it, that’s where holy spirits are to the medicine man, so that’s really a sacred place to do prayer, for protection, good way.”