‘Feathered Relations’ Online Exhibition at C.N. Gorman Museum is Ongoing

New Museum Building Progressing Under Renovation

Gorman image of bird.
Hummingbird 2 2015. Mixed media monotype on paper.

Marwin Begaye’s exhibit, Feathered Relations, explores sacred Indigenous beliefs around birds and their link to nature. His prints and paintings place a variety of birds in the foreground, depicting them naturally, but also existing on a higher plane. This online exhibition is based on his show that was at the C.N. Gorman Museum when the pandemic forced its closure. 

The short video, below, provides a brief history of the C.N. Gorman Museum and a walk through of the current facility as it stood before construction began on April 21, 2021.


About the Virtual Exhibit

View the new virtual exhibition here, created in collaboration with the artist and Exhibit Envoy.  The virtual exhibition includes a curatorial statement by curator Veronica Passalacqua; an essay by independent curator and scholar, Miranda Belarde-Lewis, and much more. 

Artist's statement about ‘Feathered Relations’

Birds are about our relationships — to nature, to one another, to culture. In a way, they provide a link back to the landscape. They connect the sky to the earth and through their natural patterns of migration and annual nesting cycles, they connect us to places. 

This connection to place and nature is a stark contrast to our social concepts of “staying connected.” In the digital age, we are virtually connected to one another though increasingly disconnected from nature. The birds are a link back to nature. 

I honor the birds by giving them halos, and the marks often associated with sacredness, because in our beliefs, the birds have powers for healing and for ceremony. The birds carry these powers, shared with us through the gift of their feathers. The birds are sacred. 

Their distinctive forms, each has its own crest and body shape, allow me to elaborate through relief printing and the gestural mark the beautiful simplicity of their line. The linear structure of their feathers allows me to activate the composition by using directional marks, whether in paint or woodblock cuts. 

I am interested in this combination of conceptual homage to the birds alongside my interest in developing aesthetically graceful compositions. It is very satisfying when collectors offer their own connections to the birds as a supplement to the stories shared through these images.

Read more details about the exhibition here

The fun continues: make your own print

At the end of the virtual exhibition, viewers can make their own prints by following step-by-step printmaking instructions provided courtesy of AcessArt, a UK-based nonprofit supporting visual arts teaching and learning. People are also invited to complete an online puzzle of one of Begaye’s works. 

Puzzle of bird print

Screenshot of completed puzzle 

Breaking ground on the C.N. Gorman Museum relocation

The new location, in the former Nelson Hall/Faculty Club will boast 4,000 square feet of exhibition and collections space, along with a lobby gift shop and access to the museum library.

Along with the improved facility, the new museum will enhance visitor experiences with the permanent collections through advanced interactive displays and visible storage; while expanded temporary exhibitions, at the heart of our ongoing mission, will bring Native American and Indigenous art and artists to the UC Davis campus.  Further, our unique programming will inspire creativity, expression and discussion on current issues relevant to Native peoples.

Learn more about the move here and in the meantime, make sure to check out the recently unveiled C.N. Gorman Museum website.

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