A:shiwi A:wan Ulohnanne – The Zuni World
A:shiwi A:wan Ulohnanne – The Zuni World displays the artworks of the A:shiwi Map Art collection. The project initially intended to raise awareness within the Zuni community about Zuni cultural landscapes by using art as a media for mapping. However, as the collection grew it has become a metaphor for the power of maps and how our world can be mapped in different ways representing different knowledge systems and cultural sensibilities.
The exhibit includes the work of sixteen Zuni artists comprising thirty-one two-dimensional map art paintings representing places and themes that play important roles in Zuni lives. The maps represent landscapes but also historical events, such as Zuni migrations and Zuni relationships to places throughout the Colorado Plateau. The maps also guide viewers through Zuni cosmological processes where water, plants, animals, and even the sky make up the unique Zuni world. The exhibition shows how Zuni see their own history, their ancestral migrations, their ancient homes, and the parts of nature that sustains them.
The paintings in the collection blend realism and abstraction. The map artists employ different media including oil on canvas, watercolor on paper, acrylic on canvas, and digital painting. Along with the paintings, the exhibit includes two mounted deer heads and a set of ceremonial garments used by Zuni women and men.
With this exhibition we show that artists making maps is an effective learning tool and an important community-building strategy. Moreover, the exhibition represents a successful means of recording and conveying to community members and a broader audience the important cultural history and beliefs embedded in Zuni lands.
As of today, A:shiwi A:wan Ulhohnanne – The Zuni World has been exhibited at the Fowler Museum at the University of California at Los Angeles (September 2015 – January 2016), American Museum of Natural History in New York (October – December 2013), at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM (October 2012 – August 2013), and at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff (October 2011 – February 2012).
The AAMHC is seeking host venues to exhibit the Map Art collection. As part of the exhibition we intend to establish ongoing partnerships with host museums around the idea of authentic collaboration and interpretation of Zuni culture and history. If your museum or institution is interested in hosting this unique exhibition, please contact us.