Native Southwest artists show at Prescott Indian Art Market
Native American artists from the entire Southwest are coming to Prescott this weekend for Sharlot Hall Museum’s 22nd annual Prescott Indian Art Market.
Not only is there a good mix of different types of art, but the market has only the best artists, 25 to 30 out of the 110 lined up are new to the event, said Museum Event Coordinator Dave Lewis.
“Some markets are just Hopi, just Zuni, just Navajo,” Lewis said. “We have 25 different tribes and pueblos from California to Arizona to New Mexico represented in all of their traditions.”
This year’s featured artist is potter Aaron Cajero from the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico. A master potter with distinctive, award-winning art, he sands each pot smooth and carves with traditional designs such as bears, feathers, eagles and serpents – figures believed to protect the Pueblo people, according to a prior news release from Media and Marketing Manager Ken Leja. Each of Cajero’s pots are polished with a stone to create a lustrous shine and fired in the traditional open air style with a fire of cedar wood chips.
Additionally, Lewis said he’s been interested in what’s going on with the passing of artistic traditions to Native Children, and this year there are four youth artists attending the market who have learned from their parents or grandparents. They take the stories they’ve learned in their youth from their particular tribe or pueblo and turn them into art. Navajo painter Penelope Joe (16) captures traditions, stories and meanings of Navajo culture in her paintings, Hopi photographer Lorene Nequatewa (17) is a senior at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy and has been showing at prestigious markets for two years; Navajo soft sculptor Cameron Olivas (17) creates stuffed animals called “Rez Pets” that are representations of the animals depicted in the stories shared by her grandparents, and Navajo painter Kyle Yazzie (12) paints with night time skies and abstract backgrounds.
Whatever portion of the museum’s grounds that aren’t covered with buildings and flowers will come alive with these artists and their art from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 13, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 14. For many of the artists who are coming, it’s like a family reunion, Lewis said.
“They see each other typically once a year and that’s here at our market.” he said. “It’s all about them. It’s all about their art, all about opportunity for them to share their art and their craft with the public.”
It’s a juried show as well, with a jury of seven Native American artists, some of whom were involved in starting the market, deciding who gets to be a part of it and who doesn’t, evaluating the work submitted by artists, Lewis said. They look at it for quality, cultural authenticity and appropriateness, he said.
There’s also entertainment featuring flute players, guitar players, singers, dancers and storytellers, as well as demonstrators who are there to sell but mostly educate the public on what it is they do, why they do it and what it all means. They include demonstrations in kachina carving, petroglyphs, Navajo rug weaving, Hopi basket making, Hopi glassblowing and Zuni fetish carving.
The Prescott Indian Art Market is a true showcase of extraordinary talent, Executive Director Fred Veil said in the release.
“Whether intricate silver jewelry, or impressionistic acrylic on canvas, dynamic watercolor scenes of horses splashing through streambeds or iconic native hand-painted pottery, the art brings to life the heritage and culture of American Indians,” Veil said.
Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for museum members and is free for youth 17 and younger. Sharlot Hall Museum is located at 415 W. Gurley St. for more information, call 928-445-3122 ext. 0 or visit www.sharlot.org.