Natani Notah: Thoughts on Being Thrown

Opening: Friday, Nov 3, 2023 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Nov 3 – Dec 23, 2023
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1709 W. Chicago
Chicago, IL 60622

DOCUMENT is pleased to announce the opening of Thoughts on Being Thrown, Natani Notah’s first exhibition at the gallery.

Natani Notah is a Diné (Navajo) interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores contemporary Native American existence through the lens of Indigenous Feminism. In Thoughts on Being Thrown, Notah connects maps, bodies, and objects to reflect on the larger social issues that repeatedly intersect the lives of women and men alike. With references to political activism, including the Land Back and Pro-Choice movements, her drawings also address the encounter of different groups, forces, and visions of territory in today’s social landscape. These shapes—that may connect, float away, or move toward each other—illuminate the intersections of history, politics, land, and the fight for justice.

Notah’s “soft sculptures” open an additional dialogue on the connections between human, animal, and non-living beings. With evocative titles like Spreadeagle, the pieces also invite viewers to explore these relations: Spreadeagle refers to both the position in which a person has their arms outstretched and legs apart, figuratively resembling an eagle with its wings spread, and a motif that commonly appears in nature and geometry. Additionally, the pieces in the exhibition employ materials like seed beads, faux fur, and leather to reference the value and artistry of Native American techniques and processes. 

In her practice, Natani Notah simultaneously calls attention to the many instances of colonial violence at play in our society, while pointing out the possible paths to achieve a more just future. Her drawings and sculptures seek to make space for alternative bodies and ways of existing.

Natani Notah (b. 1992, San Bernardino, CA) lives and works in Tulsa, OK. In 2014 she received a BFA in Fine Arts with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University. In 2018 she received an MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Longmont Museum, Longmont, CO (2023); 108 Contemporary, Tulsa, OK (2022); Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA), Boulder, CO (2022); Marin MOCA, Novato, CA, (2022); Massillon Museum, Massillon, Ohio (2022); The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CA (2022); apexart, New York, NY (2021); and the Tucson Desert Art Museum, Tucson, AZ (2020). Notah’s work belongs in numerous private collections and was recently acquired for the Montage Health Art Center, Monterey, CA (2023).

Image: Natani Notah, Purple Mass, 2022, Leather, seed beads, thread, acrylic paint, faux fur, artificial sinew, and plastic corn pellets, 3 1/2 x 10 x 4 in., Image courtesy of the artist