The 96th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market hosted by the Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is over but the artists are still glowing from their awards and honors. Many are tired, some are taking time off as it is the end of a production cycle and the start of a new one. Others are still giddy and celebrating or thinking what the next piece will be. It’s all good.
The evening was just getting started on Saturday, August 19 and Cara Romero told ICMN she “was so tired” but excitedly added, “This was my best market ever!” Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) won the Best of Classification in Class III: Painting, Drawing, Graphics & Photography with her photograph Ty featuring Navajo model, Ty Harris.
The photo is the first collaborative piece in a 5-part series of Native female portraits through the Native Art and Cultures Foundation Mentor Fellowship Program. Ty Harris is wearing a handmade necklace by Leah Mata Fragua (Chumash) of white olive shells gathered from Chumash territory on the California Coast. The necklace represents the traditional shell trade between Native women of California and the Southwest for thousands of years.
Romero also won a First place in Division F (Computer Graphics) and the Distinguished IAIA Alumni Award at SWAIA 2017 for Kaa, a composite of 2 photographs featuring Jody-Kaa Folwell Lazaro and a Mesa Verde vessel. Romero says she wanted to show the spirit of clay woman which has been passed down to her over thousands of years.
“I am deeply committed to making work that addresses Native American social issues and changes the way people perceive Native Americans, especially Native women, in contemporary society. If we want respect, love, and beauty among us and others, we must actively promote it through our art,” said Romero.
Pat Pruitt, a Laguna Pueblo artisan that has studied mechanical engineering, worked in a machine shop and gained acclaim as an innovative artist, metalsmith and jeweler, won Best of Show for his sculptural piece, Sentinel 1.0, which pays homage to the first bowl he entered into the Santa Fe Indian Market ten years ago. His 2017 version is made up of hundreds of zirconium and titanium-machined pieces that took him 760 hours to complete.
First-time Santa Fe Indian Market artist Donald Johnston (Qagan Tayagungin – Aleut from Alaska) won the Best of Class XI: Basketry for his traditional Baleen basket with an ivory carved figure of a man kayaking on top. Baleen is the filter-feeder system used by whales made of the same keratin that make up our hair and fingernails. Each thread of the basket was hand-split and hand-shaved, a traditional technique Johnston learned after what he calls “some hard times and looking for direction.”
Carla Hemlock (Kahnawake Mohawk) won an Innovation Award last year for a photo transfer quilt that used the historical reference of George Washington and the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign to destroy the Iroquois Confederacy. She was this year awarded the Best of Class VIII: Beadwork & Quillwork for her extensive beadwork on a long red jacket, top hat, and purse. The ensemble differs from her past entries of large quilts and cradleboards with husband Babe Hemlock.
Jamie Okuma won the Best of Class VII: Diverse Arts for a modern ensemble of jacket, long shorts and spiked shoulder bag featured in the Santa Fe Indian Market Haute Couture Fashion Show.
Steven Paul Judd won Best of Class X: Moving Images with his short film titled The Gift, about a boy whose recently passed grandfather leaves him a magical book and a jar of special items to help ease him through the grief.
Lola Cody (Navajo) won her third Best Of Class VI: Textiles for a large 14 foot by 8 foot wool rug made from her family’s sheep.
Lola Cody’s daughter Melissa Cody won the Native American Art Magazine Award this year for a brilliant Germantown textile weaving.
Hopi artisan Arthur Holmes’ took home his third Best of Class IV: Wooden Pueblo Figurative Carvingsaward this year for his carving of a rain goddess.
Angie Yazzie (Taos Pueblo) took the Best of Class II: Pottery award for her black, hand-coiled prayer bowl with geometric designs on its rim, which she says was inspired by a book she found of old, 1800’s Taos Pueblo and Tewa pottery.
Former pipeline worker Wesley Willie (Navajo) transitioned to creating jewelry 15 years ago, and after winning in past divisions and categories of the years, he says he was thrilled this year to finally win the classification of Best of Class I: Jewelry for his bolo tie and bracelet.
The following are the top winners in the ‘Best of’ Classifications:
Class I: Jewelry
Wesley Willie (Navajo – Diné)
Class II: Pottery
Angie Yazzie (Taos Pueblo)
Class III: Painting, Drawing, Graphics & Photography
Cara Romero (Chemehuevi)
Class IV: Wooden Pueblo Figurative Carvings
Arthur Holmes (Hopi)
Class V: Sculpture (Best of Show)
Pat Pruitt (Laguna Pueblo)
Class VI: Textiles
Lola Cody (Navajo – Diné)
Class VII: Diverse Arts
Jamie Okuma (Shoshone-Bannock/Luiseño)
Class VIII: Beadwork & Quillwork
Carla Hemlock (Mohawk)
Class IX: Youth (artists aged 17 and under)
Rain Scott (Navajo – Diné)
Class X: Moving Images
Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa)
Class XI: Basketry
Donald Johnston (Qagan Tayagungin)
2017 Special Award Winners:
Bernard Ewell Innovation Award
Katrina Mitten (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma)
1st National Bank Youth Award
Sage Maybee (Northern Arapaho/Seneca)
Helen Naha Memorial Award for Excellence in Hopi Pottery
Dee Setalla (Hopi)
Native American Art Magazine Award
Melissa Cody (Navajo – Diné)
Western Art Collector Magazine Award
Terrance Guardipee (Blackfeet)
Peter Dechert Memorial Award in Traditional Forms
Pauline Tsosie (Navajo – Diné)
AARP Tradition Award
Vanessa Jennings (Gila River Pima Tribe/Kiowa/Apache)
IAIA Distinguished Alumni Award
Cara Romero (Chemehuevi)
Congratulations to all the winners in all the categories! See you next year in Santa Fe!