Daily Art Moment: Lynnette Haozous

Image descriptions, clockwise from left: 1. A collage of three photos showing the artist Lynette Haozous and her assistant, Andrew Benally working on a mural. The first photo takes up the space on the left and features Haozous standing on a motorized lift painting the eye of a partially painted figure on the museum wall. Haozous stands on the red lift facing left, her right hand holding a brush touching the wall. Haozous is a Native American woman with dark hair swept back into two braids. She wears a gray sleeveless top and jeans with a dark shirt tied around her waist and black sneakers. A pot of blue paint sits at her feet. The mural taking shape on the wall portrays the head and shoulders of a larger-than-life figure with long hair in blue and gray. The figure is set against a bright yellow background with a halo-like shape around the head. Light blue four, pointed stars with white circle in their centers surround the figure. Two more photos are stacked on the right. 2. The top features the mural in progress with a table, ladder, and motorized lift in front of it. The mural’s central figure is the head and shoulders of a figure with long straight hair rendered in blues and grays. The figure gazes directly ahead, with facial features and clothing rendered in light blues on white. A darker blue halo is around the head within a much larger bright yellow organic cloud-like shape. Layered over this are light blue four-pointed stars in rows on either side of the figure. To the left of the figure, four dark blue, pyramid shaped triangles outlined in white are stacked on top of one another. The top and bottom triangles have large white dots in their centers and the middle two have red dots. To the right of the figure are four more pyramid shaped triangles, this time with red center dots and standing on their sides. The floor beneath the mural is covered with drop cloths. 3. The final photo at bottom right shows the artist and her assistant in the foreground with the completed mural in the background. Assistant Andrew Benally, a Native American man, stands at left, smiling. His hair is pulled back and he wears a black t-shirt with a figure in white wearing a feathered headdress. The artist Lynnette Haozous, stands at right, also smiling at the camera off to the right. She wears her hair back in braids, a plaid shirt and peach t-shirt. Behind them the mural is displayed next to a window with natural light.

Last week was an exciting week at the museum with artist Lynnette Haozous, and her assistant Andrew Benally, here from Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were on hand to install Into the Sun, her temporary mural in the gallery for our upcoming exhibition, Mesh.” As a muralist, Haozous is often invited to create work that is large in scale and site-specific. We had an idea which wall to use, although she was unable to understand the space before she arrived for the installation. With only photographs and measurements Haozous had designed this mural in advance, but expanded it on-site to fill the space, spilling the design over into the adjacent wall. Pushing the margins of her painting was an apt move for an artist who uses her monumental work to “re-matriate” or re-assert the presence and power of Native women into colonial spaces such as the Portland Art Museum. We look forward to seeing the mural in combination with the work of Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Lehuauakea, and Leah Rose Kolakowski when the exhibition opens on November 6.

Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art

Lynnette Haozous, Into the Sun, 2021, with Andrew Benally, Portland Art Museum.

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