Navajo rugs from the collection of Deborah Norland & Jim Bovee
Kristin Wigley-Fleming Fine Arts Gallery, Center for the Arts
September 11 - October 16, 2009
Weaving and textiles hold places of special importance among Navajo people. This exhibit focuses on the textile as a manifestation of the Navajo way of life and a symbolic representation of Navajo culture. The exhibit draws its pieces from the collections of Dr. Deborah Norland, Professor of Education at Luther College. The rugs, chosen for their skillful creation and beauty, represent at once both the individual and collective experiences of the Navajo people.
"A respect for Navajo language and culture led to my appreciation and collection of materials, including rugs, baskets, jewelry, and pottery, that are made by the People. I collect Navajo rugs because they transcend time and place, linking the past with the present, serving as a reminder that the United States is a nation of diverse and unique people with multiple talents and perspectives about the world.
"I started working with the Navajo thirty-five years ago (January 1974) as an intern, teaching at a Bureau of Indian Affairs School in New Mexico. I started learning about Navajo textiles by interacting with weavers and traders. That summer I returned to the Reservation to work as a swimming instructor for the Navajo Youth Health, Physical Education and Recreation (NYHPER) program and started my rug collection. A weaver and textile instructor for the NYHPER program from Ganado, Arizona, made my first rug. It is a typical Ganado Central Diamond Rug, hand–spun of wool sheared from the weaver’s flock. As I traveled throughout the Reservation, I added to the Ganado Diamond.
"Although I bought the majority of rugs directly from their weavers, I also purchased rugs from traders in Pinon, Teec Nos Pos, Gallup, Lukachukai, and bid on a handful at the Crownpoint Rug Auction. Of the rugs purchased directly from the weavers, the majority are made by women living within a 40 mile radius of Rock Point, Arizona."