Healing through Native Creativity: Artist Conversation with Dorothy Grant
Dorothy Grant (Haida) Textiles Dorothy Grant’s work can be likened to iconic fashion designer Chanel, who transformed the way women thought about themselves in clothing. Grant had a vision to do exactly this by marrying Haida art to classically designed clothing. She redefined Haida regalia for both modern-day potlatching and stellar red carpets. Her work has been called transformative and powerful. This is best described by the Haida word Yaagudaang, which means “having a sense of self-respect and pride.” In 1981, Grant trained with her maternal grandmother, Florence Edenshaw Davidson, to weave spruce root hats and basketry while making regalia for Haida dance groups. In 1983, she began to sketch Haida art onto clothing. In 1988, she graduated from Helen Le’Feaux School of Fashion Design and immediately started her first collection. She premiered the collection at the Hotel Vancouver in 1989 featuring her iconic new Feast-Wear label. Dorothy’s career, through her exemplary role modeling in fashion and in business, has helped lead the way for new generations of Indigenous designers throughout North America. In 2015, she was granted the Order of Canada for her contribution to the Canadian fashion industry and her mentoring of youth. Dorothy Grant’s work is showcased on runways around the world and is worn by high-profile actors for the red carpet. Her garments have been collected by sixteen museums worldwide. She continues her work with three fashion labels in her studio in Tsawwassen, British Columbia. Her full collection can be viewed at www.dorothygrant.com. December 4–6, 2020, the museum was pleased to present selected artists from past Native Art Markets to share stories about their art and latest creations. Through the beauty and solemnity of their creative pieces, these artists encourage us all to look forward to a future of good health and social justice.
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Native American Indian Museum Smithsonian "Indigenous Peoples" "Smithsonian Institution" "Smithsonian NMAI" "National Museum of the American Indian"