Positive/Negative Changing Woman Baskets (2008)
Weaving ovals to better represent the shape of a face, Elsie Holiday shows the powerful deity Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé (Changing Woman) in two of her many forms across three baskets. “Changing Woman is a woman that can change to whatever she wants,” Elsie explains. Inspired by the paintings of Native American artist Helen Hardin, Elsie explores the Diné (Navajo) ideas of duality and balance through a face that is both young and old, male and female. The first basket in the series shows an elderly man with white hair, the left side of his face brightened by the light of day. Elsie describes the second basket: “To me the Changing Woman . . . where the bun is, that’s the lady side, and the other side, that’s the man, with the hair just hanging down.” In the third, one side of the basket is draped in “night” in contrast with the intense colors of the face.