Melanie Yazzie is informed by the Diné philosophy of hozho — translated as blessings, beauty, and harmony. After experiencing illness, she challenged herself to create artworks that find ways to heal from and to balance the negative effects of settler colonialism that Indigenous people live with on a daily basis. Her earlier works focused on calling attention to the harsh realities of racism, poverty, and loss of home territories. She continues to acknowledge these struggles, but now layers her artworks with recuperative images. As a Mellon Foundation Artist in Residence at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College in 2018, Yazzie began using printing plates recovered from a 1939 book project about Diné healing practices. By layering the fractional images of the color-separation plates with her own iconography formed from memories of people and places, Yazzie asserts the ongoing significance of Indigenous knowledge. This exhibition presents recent works created during the Mellon Foundation residency and over the course of a very productive time following her experience at Colorado Springs.
Melanie Yazzie is of the Salt Water Clan born for the Bitter Water Clan. As a printmaker, painter, and sculptor, Yazzie works to serve as an agent of change by encouraging others to learn about social, cultural, and political phenomena that shape contemporary lives of Indigenous people in the United States and beyond. She often organizes collaborative projects with Indigenous artists in Aotearoa New Zealand, Siberia, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. She has exhibited in over 100 group and solo exhibitions in North America, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Finland, France, and South Africa.
Image courtesy of the artist: He Told Me This (detail), 2018, screen print