Marie Watt is an artist and citizen of the Seneca Nation with German-Scot ancestry, which informs her work and process deeply. Her layered and complex influences include Indigenous knowledge and Iroquois proto feminism, the matriarchal structures of certain Native American nations, the rise of social activism throughout the 20th century, and the anti-war and anti-hate content of the 1960s and 1970s music scene. Through collaborative actions, such as her Sewing Circles, she instigates multi-generational and cross-disciplinary conversations aiming to create a lens and conversation for understanding connectedness to place, one another, and the universe. 


The use of textiles and beadwork are central to Watt’s work. She is known for her blanket towers that she builds with I-beams, a nod to Iroquois ironworkers who helped to build the skyscrapers of New York, cedar wood bases and secondhand blankets that are imbued with personal stories. In her beadwork she uses vintage Murano glass beads that are at least a hundred years old and have a unique luster. Her latest works are created with neon, a medium that Watt considers to be an extension of glass beads and thread. The language she often uses in her work, such as “Turtle Island”, “Ancestor”, “Skywalker” or “Companion Species”, amalgamate her work across mediums and often refer to Indigenous geographies and philosophies.


Selected collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The National Gallery; Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian; Whitney Museum of American Art; Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly Albright-Knox Art Gallery); Carnegie Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Art; Denver Art Museum; Walker Art Center; The Princeton University Art Museum; Yale University Art Gallery; Peabody Essex Museum; Crystal Bridges Museum; Renwick Gallery; Tacoma Art Museum; National Museum of Art, Norway; National Gallery of Canada; Seattle Art Museum; and the Portland Art Museum. Watt has received numerous awards from Anonymous Was a Woman, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Harpo Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation and the Native Arts and Culture Foundation.

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