Bił Náni’eeł: Luxuriating in the Experience of Image and Language with Manny Loley, Heard Museum

Join poet and Emerging Diné Writers Institute Director Manny Loley for a special writing workshop in response to the Heard Museum.

The Diné phrase “bił náni’eeł” can be understood as a pooling of water. In many areas within Diné Bikeyah, the Navajo homeland, and surrounding desert areas, water collects in pools and flows around the land after summer rainstorms. To honor this process, and the land that gives breath to our stories, we’ll think about image and language through the idea of “bił náni’eeł” as a framework for engaging with ekphrastic poetry.

In this hour and a half session, we'll experience art from the Heard Museum’s collection and respond with our own compositions: thinking about the dynamic of image reproduction within the written form, the purpose and experience of art in -person v. online, the art of listening with the whole body, multiple histories in conversation with each other in presence and absence, and more. More than aesthetic appreciation, art (in all its forms) allows the writer to delve into deeper parts of themselves and the world that continues to shape them. By situating ourselves within a Diné framework, we’ll be thinking through ekphrastic poetry as more than a euro-centric practice, but one concerning humanity and the land. This session is an exercise in rooting our writing practice in ancestral knowledges that pre-exist the English language, and the occupied territory of what is now the United States.

While individuals are encouraged to visit the Heard Museum in-person before the workshop, you can also view art through the online collections or the Heard Museum app.

Please note: In order to ensure equity and access, seats will be distributed through a lottery system with priority given to members of Indigenous communities. Registration will close Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM Phoenix MST. Individuals will be notified via email the following day. Individuals who receive a seat should log in to the waiting room beginning at 12:30 in order to claim their seat. Unclaimed seats will open to the waitlist at 12:55 p.m. Individuals who do not receive a seat will still be able to observe the workshop through a private live-stream and participate in the community reading later that evening. Individuals of all backgrounds, identities, and experience levels are welcome. This event is presented in partnership with the Heard Museum and is open to the public and free.

Bił Náni’eeł: Luxuriating in the Experience of Image and Language with Manny Loley and the Heard Museum is Saturday, March 13, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Phoenix MST on Zoom

Looking for more events? Take a tour of the Heard Museum, write through revenge with Gionni Ponce on March 22, or view the full schedule for the NEA Big Read today.

About our Partners

Manny Loley is ‘Áshįįhi born for Tó Baazhní’ázhí; his maternal grandparents are Tódích’íi’nii and his paternal grandparents are Kinyaa’áanii. He is a current Ph.D. candidate in English and literary arts at the University of Denver. Loley is director of the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute. His work has homes in RED INK, the Santa Fe Literary Review, and is forthcoming in the Yellow Medicine Review, the Massachusetts Review and the Diné Reader: an Anthology of Navajo Literature (UofA Press, 2021)

Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard Museum presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art. The museum's activities revolve around collecting, preserving and presenting art ranging from ancestral artifacts to contemporary paintings and jewelry. Exhibitions lay the foundation for learning about the cultures and experiences of the people