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Mary Holiday Black

Since her start as a child, making ceremonial baskets for her medicine man relatives, Mary Holiday Black has had the greatest impact on the revitalization of fine basketmaking among the Navajo. Despite never learning English, and living in a remote place, her creativity and leadership abilities have promoted the resurgence of this art in the Four Corners region, bringing more economic opportunity to the area.
Her work was featured in the nationally touring exhibit “Changing Hands: Contemporary Indian Art from the Southwest”, curated by the American Craft Museum in New York City. She has been awarded many prizes for her baskets. Her induction as a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts said, in part: ” By pushing the parameters of technique, aesthetics, and custom, Black has led a contemporary revival of Navajo basketry.” Mother of 11, nine of her children and their own families continue the arduous art of basket weaving.