Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Native Indian Art, Meet Pop Culture

Last Sunday was the first time I had attended the Annual Prescott Indian Art Market, so forgive me if I comment out of ignorance. I had expected, what? A lot of pricey katsinas ... Kokopellis galore ... pottery ... squash blossom jewelry ... Navajo rugs ... in short, the usual mix of goods that the average American thinks of when the subject is Indian art. A pleasant surprise over at the Sharlot Hall grounds: the quality of the goods, the variety, the absence of cliche ...

... and the unexpected. Example: one of Jesse Hummingbird's characters aboard an Indian motorcycle in a painting commissioned by that company. Nor was that the only biker in the show. Below, a silver pin.

Another nod to pop culture: a jazz band, also painted by Hummingbird.

Hardly a traditional carving -- a modern muscle car rendered by Elizabeth Whitethorne-Benally. Below, another bow to contemporary uses: classic design elements on silver guitar picks.

But of the pop-influenced art at the show, I think this character by young Ryan Huna Smith was one of my favorites. The F stands for Frybread Man. Smith, whose work is currently showing at the Smoki Museum as Flipped Traditional, will soon take over as director of the museum -- which suggests some interesting new directions might well be expected.

I should hasten to assure people that this market was by no means dedicated to pop art from the Rez; I have other pictures of paintings and craft works for another post. However, I do have a weakness for the quirky and off-beat, as you can plainly see. And my apologies to the silversmiths whose work remains anonymous; I was too caught up in the show to get their names.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed what you posted. Wish I had the talent these folks have.

pb said...

How fortunate you are that the local native American culture has persisted. Around here, many people have at least some Indian blood, but the culture is mostly gone.

kate said...

Oh, I really like Jesse Hummingbird's paintings!

Did you capture any more of the silver work? I have a hand-cast silver Zuni bear fetish pendent that I purchased in Flag -- and I'm sad to say I can't remember the artisan's name. It's my favorite & I wear it nearly every day!

Granny J said...

steveg-- a very talented group of artists and artisans indeed.

pb-- long time, no see! What I liked about the show was that the art showed an evolving kind of tradition rather than a static conformity.

Kate -- again, I apologize for not catching the silversmiths' names! As for Hummingbird's work, I would happily hang several on my walls.

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