Marie Watt: Sound, Dancing, Community And Healing At Kavi Gupta Gallery In Chicago

Chad Scott, Forbes, June 7, 2023

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The space between sky and earth. Marie Watt’s (b. 1967; Seneca) most recent artworks live there, taking inspiration from her culture’s Creation Story.


Across the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, of which the Seneca are a member, the story varies slightly, but in it, broadly speaking, Sky-woman, the Mother Goddess, is cast out of Sky-world. She falls through a hole in Sky World into a water world. Seeing her falling, the animals of the water world–the geese and the ducks and the muskrats and turtles–agree to break her fall. She lands on the back of a turtle, which becomes Turtle Island–North America.


Watt’s “jingle clouds” envision the sky opening, Sky-woman falling through.


“This space between sky and earth has always been a space that, for me, subverts this Western fascination with a horizon line,” Watt told “My Seneca perspective (is) thinking of our orientation to this space as omni directional. There are cardinal directions–north, south, east and west–but we are not fixed on the orientation of horizon line.”


The world view of Indigenous people across North America is generally circular, cyclical–the sun and the moon, the seasons, rebirth, continuum–in opposition to the linear perspective of the continent’s white colonizers–starting points, ending points, birth, life, death, roads, objectives.

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