Marie Watt: Sky Dances Light

Opening: Saturday, Jun 10, 2023 4 – 7 pm
Saturday, Jun 10 – Sep 30, 2023

835 W. Washington Blvd.
Floors 1 & 2
Chicago, IL 60607

Kavi Gupta presents Sky Dances Light, a solo exhibition of new works by Marie Watt, whose bold, multi-sensory visual language celebrates and fosters community connections.

Embracing and centering the stories embedded within materials, Watt’s debut exhibition with the gallery features her highly anticipated new series of sculptures composed of jingle cones, rolled pieces of tin historically fashioned from the circular lids of tobacco containers.

The jingle sculptures bring together several important elements of Watt’s artistic language, including materials related to Indigenous history and gestures intended to spark healing.

Though their invention and use as fashion adornments dates at least to the late 1800s, tin jingles became an iconic element of Indigenous dance traditions during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

“One version of the story is that a member of the Ojibwa nation had a sick granddaughter,” recalls Watt. “They had this dream in which they were instructed to attach tin jingles to a dress and have women dance around this sick child while wearing the dress. The idea was that the sound would be healing. It’s assumed the medicine worked, because the dance was shared with other communities.”

Connecting to the present through the legacies of our ancestors, the works in Sky Dances Light remind us of the bonds we share with each other and across generations, and the healing that can flow from connection, music, and community.

The exhibition follows recent, critically acclaimed exhibitions of Watt’s work at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado and Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and the inclusion of her works in recent group exhibitions at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, among many others.