Sháńdíín Brown

Season 6, Episode 3

This episode features an interview with Sháńdíín Brown (Diné), continuing our series talking to participants in the Momus residency “Estuaries: An International Indigenous Art Criticism Residency” co-hosted with Forge Project. Lauren Wetmore talks to Sháńdíín Brown, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and the first Henry Luce Curatorial Fellow for Native American Art at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, about two very different texts written almost a century apart: Laura Tohe’s “There is No Word for Feminism in My Language” (2000) and Uriah S. Hollister’s “The Navajo and His Blanket” (1903). Brown speaks about these two texts in the context of the exhibition she has curated Diné Textiles: Nizhónígo Hadadít’eh (They Are Beautifully Dressed), which opens in early September at the RISD Museum. In highlighting the important role of women in Navajo culture, and Brown’s own work as a facilitator of that culture, she speaks against racist writing about Indigenous art: “When someone so boldly says ‘the Navajos are going to go extinct,'” Brown says of Hollister’s text, “you’re like, me being here, having Native people in museums, having Native people invited to be collaborators, and working in art history is a big deal.”

Diné Textiles: Nizhónígo Hadadít’eh (They Are Beautifully Dressed) curated by Sháńdíín Brown, will be on view from September 2nd, 2023 to September 29th, 2024.

Thanks to our Editor, Jacob Irish; Assistant Producer, Chris Andrews; and many thanks to Gulf Coast Magazine‘s Toni Beauchamp Critical Art Writing Prize for their support.

This episode has been generously supported by the Mellon Foundation.