By Heather Madsen
Utah has a deep and complex history involving many different types of people. Before colonization, this land was occupied by thousands of indigenous peoples, each belonging to a tribe with its own unique history and customs. However, due to settlers, colonizers, disease, invasion, and war, much of their history, land, and traditions were destroyed. Some tribes were even wiped out entirely and are now extinct. Native Americans in Utah today are grouped into eight main tribal nations including Utes, Goshutes, Paiutes, Shoshone, and Navajo. The Native Americans who live in Utah today have had to fight to reclaim their history and protect their heritage. One of the ways they’ve done that is through art.
The Leonardo has a gallery that is a platform for Native Americans to tell their stories and showcase their art. The gallery, Utah Diné Bikéyah (Bear Ears Gallery), has featured pottery, paintings, singing, and dancing, and now, it will feature fashion as it hosts Utah’s First Indigenous Fashion Week. The fashion show will take place on April 15th at 6 pm. The exhibit will feature contemporary indigenous fashion, jewelry, and accessories, many of which will be for sale before and after the show. Many of Utah’s tribes will be represented, including artisans from Hopi, Navajo (Diné), Ute, Northern Ute, Apache, Anishinaabe Ojibwe tribe, and many more.
The fashion show is being led by Hopi artist Jessica Wiarda, who owns her own clothing brand, Honovi Designs, and who is finishing up her art residency at Utah Diné Bikéyah with this event.
The profits made off of the tickets for this event will go towards paying the indigenous models and staff who helped pull this event off. A large portion of the leftover profits will also be donated to the Hopi Education Endowment Fund. All peoples are welcome to attend, and we hope to see you there for a night of celebration and support for the Indigenous community.
Tickets and more information can be found at theleonardo.org/programs/this-month-at-the-leonardo/.