Native talent on display at Prescott Indian Art Festival
From paintings to pottery to metalwork, there was no shortage of art at the 18th annual Prescott Indian Art Market on Saturday, July 11 at the Sharlot Hall Museum. More than 100 Native American artists displayed their work, including featured artist, Judith Durr-Kull, of the Choctaw Nation, and "Best of Show" Tim Washburn, of the Diné Navajo Nation. The show continues Sunday.
One of the market's artists, Joshua Madalena of the Jemez Pueblo, who won first place for ceramics, had revived the 300 year old tradition of Jemez Black-on-White pottery, which he said was oppressed by the Spanish culture during the 17th century conquests.
"One of the casualties of that was Black-and-White pottery," Madalena said, stating he wanted to bring the art back because "we as Native Americans, our culture's very strong... I'm a traditional person, my quest was to find the original recipe."
And though there was no record of the recipe for Black-and-White pottery to be found, Madalena said he went by trial and error starting in 1994. He was successful by 2005 and said that he loves doing it because the Jemez Pueblo culture has its identity, culture and footprint back.
Washburn, in addition to winning "Best of Show," was also awarded first place in sculpture and spoke of his "Reservation Herding" sculpture, made of brown alabaster, in a release from the Sharlot Hall Museum.
"It all starts with stone," he said. "Originally, I had the stone as a four-foot-tall block, but - as soon as I laid it on its side - the scene came into view. It took about a year to complete, after all the polishing and finishing."
Other winners included Bryan Joe of the Diné Navajo Nation for jewelry, Rena Begay of the Diné Navajo Nation for traditional arts and Baje Whitethorne of the Diné Navajo Nation for two-dimensional art.
Also at the market was retired art teacher Anita Caldwell-Jackson of the Echota Cherokee, displaying her paintings and leather sculptures. She said that she has been painting for at least 40 years, but has only been doing the sculptures for two.
Caldwell-Jackson called going from painting to scultpures a natural progression, stating that after doing one thing for 40 years, there is a desire to do something else. And though working with mediums like clay and wood weren't working, she said the thought came to her one day to use leather.
"So I started using leather," she said. "I haven't' talked to anyone else who uses leather like this. I'm just teaching myself."
Caldwell-Jackson said that it's hard to imagine not doing artwork, adding that it's a part of her and a way of expressing herself.
Another painter at the market was local Karen Clarkson of the Choctaw Nation, who said she has been painting for about 15 years and is self-taught. The hardest part about teaching herself, she said, was learning to use color effectively, noting that a painter can use certain colors effectively in combination and get vary effects each time. She called it a challenge, especially in how she likes to do portraits and said it takes a lot of practice. However, she said she loves hearing from people that her work speaks to them.
"They look at it and since most of my subjects are people, they can identify with the person and that makes them feel something," she said. "That makes me feel good."
Follow Reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.