Basket Dance/8
Ramona Sakiestewa (American, b. 1948), ca. 1990
Wool, tapestry weave, 178 x 127 cm
Cotsen Textile Collection NT-1251

Recently featured in George Washington University Museum / The Textile Museum
Researched by Lori Kartchner

Born of Hopi ancestry and raised in the southwestern United States, Ramona Sakiestewa taught herself to weave as a teenager by adapting prehistoric pueblo techniques. Today, she is known around the world for her abstract tapestries, works on paper, and collaboration projects that blend her heritage with the contemporary spirit of the Southwest.

Sakiestewa’s artwork is often inspired by her dreams, and she dreams of patterns. This wool blanket is part of her Basket Dance series, in which she rearranges the primary colors and shapes found in Hopi wicker plaques (circular ceremonial baskets) into rectangular compositions. Sakiestewa also incorporates narrow bands of color, which are typical of Hopi baskets and textiles.

Known for her remarkable skill and collaborative approach, Sakiestewa has contributed to a variety of projects that bridge modern art and architecture with native arts. From creating tapestries based on drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright to designing signature architectural elements of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., Sakiestewa’s artistic practice remains rooted in tradition but never stops evolving.

Lori Kartchner joined the museum in 2014 and has been curator of education since 2019. In addition to overseeing educational programming and the docent corps, Lori also developed the museum’s Textiles 101 interactive gallery together with curators, docents, and GW faculty. Lori has a master’s degree in museum education from GW.