Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Symbolism in Navajo sand art

Class

Article

College

Caine College of the Arts

Faculty Mentor

Sandra Charlson

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

To further my study of Native American artwork in the southwestern United states, I wish to focus my research primarily on symbolism and cultural significance of artistic content and technical process. My intention is to discover the who, what, and why of the intricate process of sand art and what it meant and continues to mean to the Navajo people. I intend to find themes and patterns in different examples of Navajo sand art and tie them to specific religious or mythological significance. Does the act and process of creating the artwork have spiritual significance, or does the significance lie only in the finished piece? With so many angles to look at the magnificently intricate topic of sand art, the decision on where to being was difficult. I decided that the most notable and detailed angle would be to focus on the meaning. I believe that it is human nature to pursue meaning in everything around us. The meaning of death, life, earth, and stars. Did the Navajo people believe that sand art could connect them to a spiritual realm of answers? Do they still? Humans desire explanation, and it is my belief and intention to explore the history of symbolic sand art to further my understanding of the Navajo people and their culture.

Location

The South Atrium

Start Date

4-12-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

4-12-2018 2:45 PM

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Apr 12th, 1:30 PM Apr 12th, 2:45 PM

Symbolism in Navajo sand art

The South Atrium

To further my study of Native American artwork in the southwestern United states, I wish to focus my research primarily on symbolism and cultural significance of artistic content and technical process. My intention is to discover the who, what, and why of the intricate process of sand art and what it meant and continues to mean to the Navajo people. I intend to find themes and patterns in different examples of Navajo sand art and tie them to specific religious or mythological significance. Does the act and process of creating the artwork have spiritual significance, or does the significance lie only in the finished piece? With so many angles to look at the magnificently intricate topic of sand art, the decision on where to being was difficult. I decided that the most notable and detailed angle would be to focus on the meaning. I believe that it is human nature to pursue meaning in everything around us. The meaning of death, life, earth, and stars. Did the Navajo people believe that sand art could connect them to a spiritual realm of answers? Do they still? Humans desire explanation, and it is my belief and intention to explore the history of symbolic sand art to further my understanding of the Navajo people and their culture.