Diné (Navajo) Apparel Design, Weaving, and Womanhood

by Lighthouse Works visiting curator Sháńdíín Brown,
the first Henry Luce Curatorial Fellow for Native American Art at the RISD Museum

Hosted by HLFM director Pierce Rafferty

Diné (Navajo) apparel design is constantly evolving. From wearing blankets and mantas through contemporary art, the crafted works demonstrate design resilience and creativity. They also demonstrate hózhó (balance, beauty, and harmony), a Diné concept shown through symmetrical geometric design, light and dark color, and the continuance of practice through matriarchal teaching.

In this recorded illustrated talk, presented at the Museum November 11, 2023, Sháńdíín Brown shares insights on her work and practice as a curator and discuss her current exhibition Diné Textiles: Nizhónígo Hadadít’eh, on view at the RISD Museum in the Angelo Donghia Costume and Textiles Gallery through September 29, 2024. This talk is followed by a conversation with Lighthouse Works Program Director Dylan Gauthier and an audience Q&A.

A joint Lighthouse Works and HLF Museum Program

Sháńdíín Brown is a curator, creative, and citizen of the Navajo Nation from Arizona. She is the first Henry Luce Curatorial Fellow for Native American Art at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum. She co-curated Being and Believing in the Natural World: Perspectives from the Ancient Mediterranean, Asia, and Indigenous North America (2022–2023) as well as Take Care (2022–2023). Brown’s newest exhibition, Diné Textiles: Nizhónígo Hadadít’eh (2023–2024), explores the intersections of Diné apparel design, weaving, and womanhood.

Brown’s research interests include Indigenous fashion, jewelry, art and feminism. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she earned her BA in Anthropology as well as Native American Studies and minored in Environmental Studies. Previously she has held positions at the Heard Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Penn Museum, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) and School for Advanced Research (SAR) Indian Arts Research Center (IARC). Her jewelry can be viewed on Instagram @T.Begay.Designs