February 26, 2011

Zuni map art

Zuni map art--Illustrating cultural memory

By Michele MountainThere is an Indigenous mapping movement growing around the world reinforcing knowledge of ancestral lands and describing the world as a cultural landscape. The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff is set to open a new exhibit, A:shiwi A:wan Ulohnanne--The Zuni World, that highlights the Zuni peoples' unique approach to mapping with art.

Thirty new Zuni map art paintings and accompanying videography and acoustic productions are part of the exhibit, which was produced in partnership with the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center (AAMHC) in Zuni, N.M. The exhibit will be open Saturday, Feb. 26 and will be on display through Oct. 30, 2011.

The A:shiwi (Zuni people) have always had maps, in songs and prayers, painted on ceramics and etched in stone. These maps refer to the place of their origin and places they visited. But over the past 500 years, Zuni names of places and their meanings have been all but eliminated from mainstream use. In their place are a new set of maps, with a new set of names that reflect other values and ways of seeing the world that has been the Zunis' home for generations.

"In the face of modernity and globalization, Zunis along with other Indigenous peoples are struggling to maintain a relationship with cultural landscapes throughout our aboriginal territories," stated Jim Enote, director of the AAMHC and curator of the exhibit. "We believe map art can create a new pathway for envisioning and respecting sacred natural features. Being mindful and taking care of these places is important for Zuni's cultural survival, as well as the survival of all dependant life in the area."
Comment:  Nice piece of artwork below.

Below:  "Chimik’yana’kya dey’a (Ribbon Falls), a 48” x 36” acrylic on canvas © 2010 Geddy Epaloose."

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Mapping a History

The Zuni map project explores a culture of stories and places

Every day, people use maps to define the world around them. These maps tell us where we are and, sometimes, even who we are. The “A:shiwi A:wan Ulohnanne–The Zuni World” exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona challenges the boundaries that define the Zuni culture.

The exhibit features 31 different paintings that various Zuni artists have created to represent the many important places in their world.

It is easy to forget how powerful maps are. They tell us where to travel, how to travel and what’s important in the places we travel to. But what if what’s on the maps is wrong? What if they misrepresent a culture, or a place and its importance to the people of that area?

These are some of the ideas that the Zuni map project and Jim Enote, director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, are hoping to set straight.