This Luxury Utah Resort Is Highlighting Indigenous Artists' Works With a Gorgeous Pop-up Exhibit

Amangiri's first pop-up exhibition centers on Indigenous stories and opens this week.

Aerial view of Amangiri and Valley View from Mesa

Courtesy of Aman Resorts

There's no denying that art and hospitality go hand in hand. Art can enhance the guest experience by establishing a unique sense of place and educating visitors about local culture and artistic traditions. This is exactly what led Amangiri, the celebrity-loved 900-acre luxury hideaway nestled in a secluded desert valley in Canyon Point, Utah, to launch its first-ever museum partnership for a pop-up exhibition that opens this week, on March 15.

The cultural institution in question is the renowned Heard Museum in Phoenix, which is dedicated to promoting Indigenous art stateside and abroad. Amangiri's event will complement the museum's latest exhibit, "Substance of Stars," which displays artwork focused on "the creation stories and sky knowledge of four Indigenous communities," according to a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. 

At Amangiri, guests can view a series of photographs by Steven J. Yazzie, a Diné (what members of the Navajo nation call themselves) multidisciplinary artist, who spent his childhood in a Navajo nation town 16 miles southeast of the resort. Until May 31, Amangiri guests can enjoy a curated selection of stills from Yazzie's videos at the Heard Museum. The pieces celebrate the stunning landscape surrounding Amangiri and seek to establish "a deeper connection with the natural world and the infinite expanse of the cosmos."

Aerial View of the pool at Amangiri

Courtesy of Aman Resorts

"This is the first time since Amangiri's opening that we welcome a pop-up exhibition on property, and we could not think of a better partner than the Heard Museum to curate a unique selection of artworks from [Yazzie]," said Audrey Huttert, the general manager at Amangiri, said in a release. "We are delighted to add the Heard Museum's world-renowned expertise in Native American arts to our cultural programming as we are committed to share the rich traditions of our local community with our guests."

One of the highlights of the pop-up is a spectacular photograph called "Throwing Stars Over Monsters" depicting New Mexico's Shiprock under a star-filled sky. (The Shiprock — called Tsé Bitʼaʼí in Navajo, is a 7,177-foot rock formation created from a volcanic eruption.) The work draws inspiration from Navajo mythology, according to which the mischievous character Coyote created the Milky Way by throwing a bag full of stars into the sky.

 Throwing Stars Over Monsters by Steven J. Yazzie
Throwing Stars Over Monsters by Steven J. Yazzie.

Steven J. Yazzie

According to Yazzie's website, his work "explores the complexities of the post-settler colonial Indigenous experience as it relates to personal identity, community relationships, and the essential connection to the land as the source of life, stories, conflict, and healing."

Heard Museum's "Substance of Stars" exhibition opened to the public in Phoenix on November 6, 2022, and spans newly commissioned and existing artworks by contemporary indigenous artists.

"We are honored to partner with Amangiri to amplify these [indigenous artists and Tribal leaders] voices far beyond the walls of the Heard Museum," David M. Roche, Heard Museum's director and CEO, said in the aforementioned released. "The stars aligned for us to cocreate this unique companion exhibition with Yazzie and Amangiri, and we hope that not only will Amangiri's visitors be inspired by the work, but that this will also invite more visitors from around the world to come to Phoenix to experience the Heard Museum and 'Substance of Stars' in person."

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