b. 1991, USA

Dakota Mace Biography

Dakota Mace is an interdisciplinary Diné/Navajo artist whose work focuses on interpreting and translating Diné culture through a variety of techniques—both western and traditional. Encompassing photography, papermaking, weaving, and beadwork, her practice aims to reframe Indigenous identity in dialogue with cultural appropriation and traditional Navajo motifs.

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Early Years

Mace was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to a family of jewellers who specialised in traditional Diné silver making. Discovering her allergy to silver very early in life, she turned to photography at the age of 14, engaging particularly with alternative processes like cyanotype and wet plate collodion, which form a key strand of her artistic output today.

Mace completed her BFA in photography at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in 2013, where she also gained a Certificate in Business the following year. While she was studying, her mentor and artist Tom Jones visited the Institute and suggested she apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On his recommendation, Mace moved to Wisconsin to pursue her MA and MFAs in Photography and an MFA in Design Studies, completing her degrees in 2019.

During her studies, Mace encountered difficulties finding material to photograph and express her Diné heritage. Jones connected her to Jamie Ross, a collector of Diné textiles in Mineral Point, which would eventually inspire her research into her MA show Woven Juxtaposition.

Dakota Mace Artworks

Working with multiple mediums and techniques, Dakota Mace essentialises the Navajo concept of Hózhó (balance), focusing on the symmetry of groups of four within Diné culture—colours, directions, and mountains. As such, her work will often focus on series of one colour at a time, exploring its connection to land and memory through traditional and non-traditional methods.

Woven Juxtaposition

In 2016, Mace staged her MA exhibition Woven Juxtaposition at the Art Lofts Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The show grew from her research with Ross and placed Diné textiles in contrast with products sold by the chain retailers Urban Outfitters, Target, and Pendleton, who have used versions of Native American symbols and motifs on their products. In Sex Trade (2016), Mace contrasts a Navajo textile with a pair of Urban Outfitters underwear carrying a derivative pattern. Mace produced this body of work at the same time as Navajo Nation were in the midst of a lawsuit against the company for branding certain products as 'Navajo'.

Tó Éí Ííńá

Mace's 2021 solo exhibition Tó Éí Ííńá at The Alice Wilds, Milwaukee focused on the restriction of waterways to Indigenous people within the United States, such as the construction of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline. Translating to 'water is life', Tó Éí Ííńá features series of beadwork, photographs, prints, and handmade paper, all in differing shades of blue and grey and each representing a 'dedication to our ancestors, the land we reside on, and the memories that exist within.'

Mace's series of prints 'Tó (Water)' (2021) were produced by cyanotype photography, using chemical emulsion and UV light with pieces of local flora to confirm the importance of preserving the land and waterways for generations to come.

Diné Bé' Iiná (The Diné Lifeway)

In 2022, Mace created a series of works for Diné Bé' Iiná (The Diné Lifeway) at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. The chemigrams, beaded cyanotypes, weavings, and prints translate Navajo history and mythologies through traditional and non-traditional means, with particular focus on the Na'ashjéii Asdzáá (Spiderwoman) motif, a central deity for Diné. Her series 'Łichíí (Red)' (2020) references the rich crimson colouring of cochineal, which is said to have provided medicinal and protective powers.

Public Commissions

In 2018, Mace was commissioned to create works for Imprint: Indigenous Printmakers at the Ralph T Coe Center, Santa Fe.

Awards and Accolades

In 2017, Mace was awarded an Alice Brown Memorial Scholarship from Weave A Real Peace, Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico and a Kemper Knapp University Fellowship from the School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2018, she won the Zillman Fund Award and the Summer Time Academic Research (STAR) Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with a Robin A. Douthitt Graduate Teaching Fellowship. In 2019, she was granted a Memorial Assistantship from Weave A Real Peace, Washington, D.C. and won the Inaugural Forward Art Prize, Women Artists Forward Fund, Madison. In 2020, she was a Fellowship.Art 2020 Artist Recipient, awarded by Gener8tor, Milwaukee.

Exhibitions

Dakota Mace has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Diné Bé' Iiná (The Diné Lifeway), Bruce Silverstein, New York (2022); Dakota Mace, The James Watrous Gallery, Madison (2022); Tó Éí Ííńá, The Alice Wilds Gallery, Milwaukee (2021); Nihá (For Us), Arts + Literature Laboratory, Madison (2019); Kéyah (Land), Travois Gallery, Kansas City (2018).

Group exhibitions include The Regional, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2022); Unraveled. Restructured. Revealed, Trout Museum of Art, Appleton (2021); Stolen Sisters, The Crossman Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (2020); Ossuary, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (2020); Points of Departure, Ruth Davis Design Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2019).

Website and Instagram

Mace's website can be found here and her Instagram can be found here.

Annie Curtis | Ocula | 2022

Dakota Mace, So’ (Stars) (2019). Suite of unique chemigrams. Courtesy Bruce Silverstein, New York.

Dakota Mace Featured Artworks

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Náhookos Biko’ (Northern Fire), Náhookos Bi’áadii (Northern Female), & Náhookos Bika’ii (Northern Male) by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork sculpture, installation, mixed media, textile
Dakota Mace Náhookos Biko’ (Northern Fire), Náhookos Bi’áadii (Northern Female), & Náhookos Bika’ii (Northern Male), 2017 Natural white cotton and wool weaving with glass beadwork
67.5 x 42 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Na’ashjéii Asdzáá IV by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture, photography, print
Dakota Mace Na’ashjéii Asdzáá IV, 2021 Cyanotype with glass beadwork
7 x 5 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Na’ashjéii Asdzáá III by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture, photography, print
Dakota Mace Na’ashjéii Asdzáá III, 2021 Cyanotype with glass beadwork
7 x 5 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Na’ashjéii Asdzáá II by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture, photography, print
Dakota Mace Na’ashjéii Asdzáá II, 2021 Cyanotype with glass beadwork
7 x 5 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Na’ashjéii Asdzáá I by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture, photography, print, mixed media
Dakota Mace Na’ashjéii Asdzáá I, 2021 Cyanotype with glass beadwork
7 x 5 inches
Sold
Bruce Silverstein
So’ (Stars) by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, photography, print, mixed media
Dakota Mace So’ (Stars), 2019 Unique arrangement of 40 chemigrams
38 x 51 inches
On Hold
Bruce Silverstein
Naʼashchʼąąʼ IV by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, photography, print, mixed media
Dakota Mace Naʼashchʼąąʼ IV, 2018 Digital archival print of scanned cyanotype
24 x 24 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Naʼashchʼąąʼ III by Dakota Mace contemporary artwork works on paper, photography, print
Dakota Mace Naʼashchʼąąʼ III, 2018 Digital archival print of scanned cyanotype
24 x 24 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery

Dakota Mace Current Exhibitions

Dakota Mace Represented By

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