In this latest body of work Watt is taking a look at how various cultures regard their relationships with animals and the natural world. The Seneca and Haudenosaunee people (People of the Long House) believe animals are our First Teachers. It is an idea that begins to describe a reciprocal relationship between humans and nature; a relationship that bears a responsibility of stewardship. To represent this thinking Watt is using the image of La Lupa Capitolina or the Etruscan she-wolf nursing Remus and Romulus.
The She-Wolf has become her inspiration and companion in the making of the work for the exhibition. Her depictions of the She-Wolf’s body stand embroidered on an 8 x 13 foot canopy of blankets, recline as a sculpture in solid crystal on a base of raw walnut and dissolve into shared language stitched on to blankets in communal sewing circles. Watt sees these works as offering shelter and protection to herself and to visitors.
Watt’s work explores human stories as told through everyday objects. She uses histories and oral traditions from around the world, indigenous design principles, and her own Native traditions (she is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians)to illustrate her ideas. Watt recognizes blankets as objects that are remarkable in their ability to be both commonplace and deeply personal, bearing significance beyond their simple utilitarian design. Because of this special nature Watt uses blankets in much of her work to address a range of ideas that resonate with people from all walks of life.
Marie Watt received her MFA from Yale University and studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She has had solo exhibitions at the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute, Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Missoula Art Museum and Boise Art Museum as well numerous group exhibitions including shows at the National Gallery of Canada, Denver Art Museum, Kohler Art Center, Aldrich Museum of Art, Whatcom Museum, SITE Santa Fe, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Portland Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum. She is a recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman Fellowship, Betty Bowen Memorial Award, Bonnie Bronson Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship and an artist fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum of Western and American Indian Art. Her work is featured in numerous public and private collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Denver Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Boise Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of Art, Montclair Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts - Santa Fe, National Gallery of Canada, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Jordan Schnitzer, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft Collection, Bronson Collection, Seattle City Light, U.S. Embassy of Accra, Ghana and U.S. Embassy of Islamabad, Pakistan. She recently installed a major outdoor sculpture at the Tacoma Art Museum and commissioned by the museum for their new Haub Family Galleries wing.