100% OF NET PROCEEDS FROM THIS TEE GO DIRECTLY TO THE NAVAJO NATION COVID19 RELIEF FUND!
When Joanne Skiles Couch—artist and owner/operator of both Handmade Hope Rags and The Yap Wrap Face Masks and our good buddy from The Night Market—called about selling a tee to raise funds for Covid19 relief in the Navajo Nation we simply said, “Hell Yes.”
By the time she got to us, though, she had already done a heap of work. At the onset of Covid19 here in Kentucky, she and her partner, Jeff, with her sisters Stephanie and Maria in Southern CA, refocused their business to make face masks using Alternative Apparel materials, and donated a mask to medical and essential workers for every mask they sold. As Covid19 raged on across the US and the numbers began to reveal the extreme and disproportionate damage the virus was inflicting on Indigenous communities, Joanne and Jeff pivoted again and donated 100 fun, custom masks to Navajo Nation children.
The Yap-Wrap donated children's face masks to the Navajo Nation Covid19 Relief fund in early August.
Their mighty efforts did not go unnoticed by Alternative Apparel parent company Hanes Brandwear Inc., who met Joanne’s and Jeff’s request for a donation of Eco-Jersey baseball tee-shirts, which are partially made of plastic bottles. In their communications, it was known that Joanne and Jeff would use their hand-crafted imprinting technique to produce shirts to raise money for the Navajo Nation Covid19 Relief Fund. In the meantime, the Couches connected with the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, who pointed them to Navajo/Diné Artist Natasha Martinez, known as REZMO.
Enter REZMO. Highly respected graffiti artist, community builder, administrator at Salt River Schools, kids food distribution organizer, a member and leader of Neoglyphix, keeper of Tradition and Cultural Arts. Honestly, we could go on.
REZMO's graffiti art in 2019. REZMO is part of an all indigenous aerosol collective called Neoglyphix, who strives to create positive images of Contemporary Indigenous Art and knock down misconceptions of Graffiti.
REZMO, with digitizing assistance by Amy Davila, conceived of and designed “Together We Are Stronger / NIHIDA’NIHIDZIILGO NiSIIDZII" the art the Joanne would print by sublimation onto the gold-and-white baseball tees. The image features sage, a traditional Navajo basket weave, and Tadidiin (corn pollen), which is used in prayer to communicate with Ancestors. REZMO explains the Tadidiin “is being sprinkled onto the Earth in prayer and in blessing.” Joanne, an established artist and curator in her own right, says that her intentional imprinting process with the tees “captures a favorite vintage tee look and feel to invoke the timeless permanence of the Indigenous Navajo Nation.”
Left: Design by REZMO. NIHIDA’NIHIDZIILGO NiSIIDZII translated from Diné to English is "Together We Are Stronger". Right: Joanne's unique printing process results in a soft vintage look and feel.