Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We speak Tribal Art in many languages

If you are reading this blog as is, you may find the following news unimportant.

On the other hand, if you know people who speak languages other than English, and who are interested in tribal art, you can tell them that Aboriginals' websites now have Google translation capability.

Our Zuni fetish carving site at ZuniLink.com , our Native-JewelryLink.com site featuring Native American jewelry, our website featuring Native American pottery, Native-PotteryLink.com, and our TribalWorks.com site, with African, Australian, Arctic and Navajo folk art items, no all have a Google gadget that allows the text of the entire site to be translated to several non-English languages: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Russian and more, even Arabic.

Simply go to the home page, find the Google translation box and enter the language you would like to translate to. The page you are on will be translated to that language as will every other page on the site.

A warning, however - This is machine translation so that it doesn't deal with colloquial expression well. When your cursor passes over a translated phrase, a window will open offering the original English wording and will ask if there is a more accurate translation possible. Your response will go to Google, where it will add to their knowledge of languages.

Please give us a comment to let us know if you like this capability. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tribal Artery has joined AVCOSA

We have joined the Antique Vintage Collectibles Online Sellers Association. We believe in supporting others in our field.

Do we need a Culture Czar?

Posted by William and Susanne Waites of Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink, under Tribal Art

Culture Grrl
Lee Rosenbaum, who blogs as the Culture Grrl and comments on the culture and arts scene, has posted a message expressing disfavor with the concept of a Federal Government culture czar. Frankly, we agree with her.

The government has no business "czar-ing" art and culture. If they can tell us what good art is, they can tell us what bad art is. We fervently believe that judgement is best made by the audience as individuals. Keep the politics out of it.

We've captured an opening paragraph Lee's blog. There is a link to continue at the end.

I've got nothing against better coordination among government programs involving the arts and humanities. Regular meetings of representatives from the relevant offices and agencies could foment creative synergies. Perhaps a White House official with advisory, not managerial, responsibilities could help facilitate this without inserting what we emphatically DON'T need---an extra layer of bureaucratic control over our nation's cultural activity.

Read more

Indian Arts & Crafts Association protects you and the artist

Posted under Tribal Art by William Ernest Waites, Aboriginals Gallery, Zunilink
, Tribalworks, Native-JewelryLink and Native-PotteryLink

We have been members of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association for 19 years. We have proudly displayed the IACA logo proclaiming our membership, which requires us to sell only authentic Native American made art when we have identified it as such.

For those, who are not familiar with IACA, here is brief history, courtesy of the association itself.


The Indian Arts and Crafts Association was established in 1974 in response to the growing problem of misrepresentation of American Indian arts and crafts in the marketplace. The original founders were American Indian artists and reputable businesses located primarily in the Southwest. Today, IACA is an international organization representing every link in American Indian arts - Native artists from the U.S. and Canada, along with consumers, retailers, wholesalers, museums, government agencies, suppliers and supporting members.

In the early 1970s, the American Indian arts and crafts industry was booming. And, as so often happens with successful businesses, unscrupulous dealers, knockoffs and imported goods appeared in the market to the detriment of the unsuspecting consumer and respectable artists, wholesalers and retailers. Legislation governing the industry and the labeling of authentic arts and crafts produced by Native Americans was weak or non-existent. Where it did exist within several of the States, it was rarely enforced.

Realizing that if these conditions were to continue, the buying public would soon lose confidence in the intrinsic value of American Indian products, these individuals did what people in similar circumstances have done since ancient times. Rather than face the issue privately, they banded together and founded the "Indian Arts and Crafts Association" and incorporated it under the laws of the State of New Mexico


When you are considering Native American art, please look for identification of your vendor as a member of the IACA. It is your best assurance that, if it says Native American Indian made, it is Native American Indian made.

Update: A tip of the Tribal Artery thank you hat to Native Art and BingoRage for link to this blog. Welcome Native Art and BingoRage readers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

African Tribal Art - The Story of Shango

Posted by William Waites, Aboriginals Gallery/TribalWorks under Tribal Art

A small boy hunches down on the earthen floor, his back against the wall of his family’s hut. His knees are tucked up under his chin. His arms hold them tight.

Each boom of thunder and each lightning crack sends a shudder through his body.

The rain comes down in waves, pounding on the thatch of the roof and rolling off to the ground. As water saturates the ground, it washes away layers of surface dirt, exposing stones previously hidden.

The rain stops. The boy comes out from the safety of his hut and starts to gather up stones, many of which look like axe-heads.

“Look, Papa,” he cries in his native tongue, “Shango!”


The reference is to Shango, the orisha (or god) of lightning and thunder. The axe-head stones, also known as celts, are symbolic of this important personage in Yoruba mythology.

According to legend, Shango was the fourth king of the Yoruba nation, Oyo. He had a whimsical and capricious nature. He was captivated by magic and careless in his use of his powers. He inadvertently cast down lightning strikes on his village, killing his wives, family and villagers. Overwhelmed with grief, he left the kingdom (some say he was banished) and killed himself.

When others in Oyo began to mock him after death, the kingdom encounterd a spate of severe and violent weather. This made his supporters angry. They elevated Shango to the status of god or orisha. In that capacity, as the god of thunder, lightning and fire, he continues to throw down axe-shaped stones symbolic of the way lightning chops through the sky.

When torrential rains reveal the stones that laid buried beneath the topsoil, the legend of Shango is reinforced.

Today, Yoruba is the most populous tribe in Africa, located primarily in Nigeria, where thousands of tribe members worship Shango. While the story that started this tale may never have happened, it is easy to imagine that, at some time in ancient Yoruba history, it did.

Shango devotees dance at annual ceremonies and other events with carved wood wands. Variants on the double-celt are apparent, often supported by a carved human figure, in an arrangement that suggests dominance over the figure. The most common figures are female, usually kneeling and offering one or both breasts as an act of supplication. These wands are called, “oshe shango”.

As Yoruba people migrated to the Western Hemisphere, mostly involuntarily on slave ships, they brought their religion of Shango with them. It is practiced in many variables today in South America and the Caribbean.

Similarly, there are variants among oshe Shango that are too numerous to mention. Some omit the celt. Some integrate the celt with the head of the figure.

This presentation of oshe Shango dance wands from my personal collection will include many of these variations. Click the Link below please

View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: african carving)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New African Art Site

Early on in our excursion in to African Tribal Art, we were encouraged by David Norden, a collector of unusual knowledge and experience.

In fact, we still post suggestions for collecting African Tribal Art at TribalWorks.com that were based largely on original thoughts by David.

He was the moderator of the African_Antiques group at Yahoo Groups, and now has a new blog and web site at African Art Club.

Some of the articles are in German. Even those are understandable. And the photos are in the universal language of photography.

We recommend a visit to the African Art Club to stay current about news in the field.

Not quite Tribal Art - but close enough for many.

Stepping a little outside the subject arena but still within the geography of Australia, we thought this little item might be of interest.

After all, some of the Aboriginal art we offer at TribalWorks.com, comes from the land down under.

It's being billed as "the best job in the world" - six months working as a "caretaker" on Hamilton Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The job comes with a pay packet of nearly £70,000 (US$100,000) and a rent-free three-bedroom villa, complete with pool.

In return, the successful applicant will be expected to spend the six-month contract exploring the idyllic surroundings, filing weekly blog, photo diary and video updates and conducting "ongoing media interviews".


The first step in securing this role is to send a 60-second video application explaining why you are the ideal person for it.

For the full story, click this link:

A tip of the hat to dades-life.blogspot.com for this lead.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Skinner to hold Ethnographic Art Auction -1/24/09

(From William and Susanne Waites at Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, proprietors of web sites at TribalWorks, Native-PotteryLink, Native-JewelryLink and ZuniLink)

Skinner, Inc., A Boston auction gallery has scheduled an auction of American Indian and Ethnographic Art on Saturday Jan 24th at 10AM

Lots will include Pre-Columbian and African material, Native American items - including several lots of moccasins, items from the Northwest Coast, Katsina dolls, Navajo silver and several ollas.

In January, Skinner will be launching a new live bidding applet on skinnerinc.com. This applet will provide Skinner’s clients with a whole new bidding experience: the ability to bid live in real-time on the Skinner website from the convenience of home or work. For more information on all the ways to bid in a Skinner auction, or to register to be one of the first live bidders, log onto How to Buy & Sell at http://www.skinnerinc.com/buy-sell/skinner-live.php

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Santa Fe Indian Market is celebrating its 88th year in 2009

Who: The Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA)
What: Annual Membership Meeting
Where: Vanessie's Restaurant, 434 W. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, NM
When: Tuesday, January 27, 6pm to 7:30 pm
How Much: Free

SANTA FE, NM)-Santa Fe is a town that embraces its traditions firmly,
but isn't afraid to lead the tides of change, especially in the visual arts.
The Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) produces the Santa Fe
Indian Market, which is Santa Fe's largest annual public event and the
most prestigious Indian art market in the world. It attracts over 100,000
visitors each year, while showcasing established and emerging Native
American artists. What may not be clear to the general public is the depth
of involvement and unconditional support that SWAIA has for the Native
arts and Santa Fe communities.

Throughout its 88 year history, the Santa Fe Indian Market has been the
central event in establishing the relevance of Native arts in the United States
and the primary architect in shaping the cultural identity of Santa Fe. The
Market is the voice and platform for Native artists to promote their art practice
and the singularly most important cultural event in the United States that has
provided autonomy and stability to the Native arts community. And although
the Santa Fe Indian Market is rooted deeply in tradition, it is making bold
leaps of reinvention to support native artists in all stages of their career.

SWAIA is excited to begin another year of programs and events and invites
the public to attend its Annual Membership Meeting. SWAIA's Executive
Director Bruce Bernstein and Board Director Fran Mullin will outline this year's
programs and initiatives including details about the Santa Fe Indian Market
scheduled for August 22-23, 2009.

A complete 2009 SWAIA schedule of events is available on our updated
website www. swaia.org. The website features a new online application for
prospective artist applicants.

For more information on this and other SWAIA events please contact
Marketing and Public Relations Associate Gabe Gomez at ggomez@swaia.org
or (505) 983-5220 x 229

# # #

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, a non-profit organization,
is an advocate for Native American arts and cultures (particularly those
in the Southwest). SWAIA creates economic and cultural opportunities
for Native American artists by: producing and promoting the Santa Fe Indian
Market as the finest Indian art event in the world, cultivating excellence and
innovation across traditional and non-traditional art forms, and developing
programs and events that support, promote, and honor Native artists year-round.
SWAIA is located at 141 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe, N.M.; telephone
number 505-983-5220; www.swaia.org.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Antiques Roadshow announces 2009 schedule

Lot's of tribal art collectors are big fans of the Antiques Roadshow, which appears on PBS. The show frequently includes tribal art collectibles presented by people who attend the shows.

So, the announcement of where and when Antiques Roadshow will show up in 2009 should be of special interest to our readers.

June 6, 2009 - Atlantic City, New Jersey
June 27, 2009 - Raleigh, North Carolina
July 11, 2009 - Madison, Wisconsin
July 25, 2009 - Denver, Colorado
August 1, 2009 - Phoenix, Arizona
August 15, 2009 - San Jose, California

If you have an object of tribal art, or any antique or collectible, that you think may have some special value, you may want to make note of these dates.

Admission to Antiques Roadshow is free but tickets are required and they must be obtained in advance. More information about Antiques Roadshow and how to get tickets can be obtained at PBS.org or by phone at 1-888-762-3749. Tickets are distributed at random from all entries.

Evaluation of items, up to two per ticket holder, are rendered verbally by representatives of leading auction houses and other independent appraisers and dealers. Shows videotaped on the above dates will be aired on PBS in 2010.

This news is brought to you by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person with a hat tip to Antiques News. Aboriginals has web sites at TribalWorks, Native-PotteryLink, Native-JewelryLink and ZuniLink.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

10 suggestions to protect your valuable tribal art collection

Unlike some other New Year’s resolutions, this one is definitely worth the time you will spend on it.

If you are a collector of tribal art, or any art,
do something to protect your collection.

With economic conditions getting worse, your collection is more at risk than at any other time.

So, is your collection secure? Do you have a security alarm system on your premises?
Do you have photographs and records of all your precious items? Did you save your receipts? Are your records and photographs in a safe and secure place?

The answers to most of these questions will suggest themselves.

The last one, however, warrants some additional discussion.

1. Get a digital camera.
It does not have to be a fancy one. It just needs to have resolution to capture a clean, in-focus picture.

2. Take a picture of every item in your collection.
It’s best to shoot in light shade on an otherwise bright, sunny day. If you shoot with subject in bright sunlight, you may lose some of the detail that is important to identify an object.

3. Shoot multiple photos, from different angles, even flat art such as textiles and paintings.
Digital images don’t cost anything. With many pictures of the same item from different angles, you have the best evidence of what is in your collection. Insurance companies are aware that adept computer users know how to fudge an image, or create one that wasn’t there. Multiple images can assure the insurance adjuster that you actually owned and photographed the item.

4. Take the chip from inside the camera to some place that can make photo images from it.
Most pharmacies have a photo-processing desk and digital kiosk. Ask for a DVD or CD with your images on it. Even better, connect the camera chip to your computer and save .jpg images to put in a digital folder. There are several low cost or free photo management software programs that can convert and hold your images. Picasa is one of them.

5. Make sure that each picture is labeled with enough description.
This will help you search for the picture later.

6. If you have access to a scanner, scan your receipts and transfer them as jpg images to your computer.
Put those jpg images in a digital folder, identifying each for ease of searching and clear relationship to the item you purchased.

7. Buy an inexpensive thumb drive with 4 to 8 gigabytes of storage space (less than $30).
Since computers are notoriously prone to crashes and file corruption, transfer the digital folders to the thumb drive. You also can “burn” the photo and document images to a CD or DVD. They are less convenient and more prone to damage than thumb drives, which capture files from your computer through a USB port.

8. Do this once every six months or every time you add or subtract from you collection.
The beauty of thumb drives is that they are very easy to overwrite with updates. CDs and DVDs may require to burn a new disc each time you update.

9. Put the thumb drive or the CDs/DVDs in a place that is removed from your collection and your computer
. A safe deposit box is a good choice.

You will now have back-up complete records of every item in your collection and the receipt for your purchase of it. If anything happens – a burglary or a fire – you will have proof of your loss and its value. If the items are stolen, you can post your photos to various stolen item directories. This can alert potential buyers, who might be approached by the thief, that the items are stolen.

10. Another word about insurance; buy it. Most homeowner policies do not cover

jewelry or high value collectibles and art objects adequately. There are companies, however, that specialize in that kind of coverage. Seek them out and get a quote to cover the value of your collection. One of them to check out is Collectibles Insurance Services, LLC. I am not recommending them because I have never had to file a claim with them. You will need to do your own research to determine if they are the right insurance company for you.

You have more than money invested in our collection. You have memories, expertise and hard work finding its contents.

Don’t leave your collection unprotected.

Happy New Year from William and Susanne Waites at
ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink and Tribalworks.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Pilgrimage to Zuni

Natasha Shealy has a nicely written report in Sedona.biz about a trip she made to Zuni to see Santo Nino de Zuni.

We enjoyed reading it and thought you might also.

"Two hundred twenty miles northeast of Sedona along I-40 toward Albuquerque, on the western edge of New Mexico, lies the ancient and mystical town of Zuni."John, Olivia, and I set out in my diesel rig early one morning on our pilgrimage to Zuni from Cottonwood, Arizona. Our goal: to pay our respects to the statue of the patron saint, Santo Nino de Zuni."

Here's the link to the entire article.


We are always happy to bring you stories and reports that we come across that may enrich your knowledge and understanding of tribal culture. For more information about Zuni, visit our web site at ZuniLink.