Artist: Agnes Gray

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Separation of the Sexes Basket (1996)

Two groups of people gaze at each other from across a winding river. A closer look shows women in red skirts on one side and men in red shirts on the other.  Agnes Gray wove the Diné (Navajo) story of the Separation of the Sexes based on a design created by Diné graphic artist Damian Jim. The problems start when Áłtsé Hastiin (First Man) and Áłtsé Asdzą́ą́ (First Woman) argue about which sex needs the other more. In a fit of anger, First Man gathers all the men to cross the river, leaving the women alone. In the middle of the basket, we see First Woman with Ma’ii (Coyote) and a monster on one side and First Man with Nádleehí (the Hermaphrodite Twins) on the other. After four long years and much frustration, the two sides reconcile with the realization they cannot survive without each other.