Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its associated web sites at,, and salutes the just announced winners of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) 2010 Fellowship Awards
The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts is primarily known as the producer of the Santa Fe Indian Market. For almost 90 years, the Indian Market has been the progenitor of Native art and design. What may not be obvious on the surface, however, is SWAIA's organizational role as a true advocate for Native artists. One of its primary directives is to support Native through various educational programs.

Since 1980, the SWAIA Fellowship Program has been the centerpiece of support and guidance for emerging and established Native artists. Thirty years later the Fellowship Program has been reinvented to provide unprecedented access and resources to Native artists like no other program in the world.

SWAIA is proud to introduce the 2010 Artist Fellowship Winners. Paired with the prestige and power of the Santa Fe Indian Market, the SWAIA Fellows are poised to transcend the limits of Native expression. The artists will be presented with their awards at SWAIA's Honoring Reception on Thursday, June 10, 2010. Details for the event TBA.

The Fellowships have been divided into two categories:
Residency Fellowships and Discovery Fellowships

Residency Fellowship

In collaboration with the Santa Fe Art Institute, SWAIA has established the SWAIA Residency Fellowships-a one-month residency for Native artists during August 2010.

"The Santa Fe Art Institute is pleased and proud to collaborate with SWAIA on the newly developed Residency Fellowship Program. SWAIA's history of recognizing and honoring excellence in the arts, and working to support the careers of emerging and established Native artists meshes beautifully with the SFAI's fundamental goal of supporting the contemporary art and artists that make a difference in the world," Michelle Laflamme-Childs, Residency & Marketing/PR Director for SFAI says.

Residency Fellows will receive:
  • One-month Artist Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute in August 2010 (Includes lodging, studio space and basic foods)
  • A $5,000 monetary award
  • A complimentary Fellowship Booth at the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market
  • Recognition at the SWAIA Honoring Reception (June 2010)
  • Press Coverage
  • Exhibit at Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
  • Santa Fe Art Institute Open Studio Event
2010 Discovery Fellowship

The SWAIA Discovery Fellowship is designed for Native artists to explore their creative process and push the boundaries of their respective art forms. Whether the art form is traditional or contemporary or if the artists are emerging or established, SWAIA encouraged applications from artists expanding the vitality of their work into undefined areas. As in previous years, fellowships funds may be used to purchase materials. Nevertheless, consideration was given to applicants, who plan to use the funds for ancillary art study or travel and research.

Discovery Fellows will receive:
  • A $5,000 monetary award
  • A complimentary Fellowship Booth at the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market
  • Recognition at the SWAIA Honoring Reception (June 2010)
  • Press Coverage
  • Exhibit at Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2010 SWAIA Residency Fellowship Winners

Hoka Skenandore

"I feel honored that SWAIA has chosen me as one of the three recipients of the residency fellowship, and feel that the organization has honored it's commitment to showcasing contemporary art and artists. Being able to work alongside other artists at the Santa Fe Art Institute also shows the importance of Native American Art in the larger art community."

Hoka Skenadore was born in Santa Fe in 1982 at the Indian Hospital. He grew up in Albuquerque with a short stint at the Laguna Reservation where his mother taught school. As a pre-teen Hoka began to enter local arts contests and won one with a drawing that was later turned into a billboard. By high school, he had developed a keen interest in graffiti art and finished his high school years studying street art at an alternative high school in Albuquerque. After graduation Hoka worked at VSA Arts of New Mexico, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to working with adults with disabilities. As an Americorps volunteer he met master muralist, A.G. Joe Stephenson, who became his mentor and teacher. In 2001, Hoka participated in his first SWAIA Indian Market, and was awarded 2nd Place in the New Directions Category for painting. He completed his BFA in Studio Arts at IAIA in 2006 and currently works in the sign industry in Albuquerque. His work was most recently shown at the Berlin Gallery in Phoenix, AZ.

Peterson Yazzie

"I have invested a lot of time and effort to get my art to where it's at, with no short cuts. I am very happy and excited to finally have my art seen by the larger public, on a stage as grand as the SWAIA Fellowship! When I started painting I started with nothing more than hope and effort, I didn't have a well known or legendary family name to build my name upon. I am very thankful and excited for the opportunity; there couldn't have been a better time in my career for such a prestigious award!"

Peterson Yazzi is from Greasewood Springs Arizona and has been painting since 1997 when he held a paintbrush for the first time as a junior in high school. By graduation, Peterson had art scholarships to Northland Pioneer College, University of Evansville, and a monetary scholarship from the Heard Museum along with a week-long art internship to Northern Arizona University. Since then he has won many awards and recognitions from art shows such as: Heard Museum Indian Art Show, Santa Fe Indian Market, Eight Northern Pueblos Indian Art Show, Small Wonders Native American Art Show with Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, White Mountain Native American Art Festival and many more. He has received art fellowships from Eiteljorg Museum and the Vermont Studio Center. He received his AFA and BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and his MFA from the University of New Mexico.

Jason Reed Brown
(Koyukon Athabascan)

Jason Reed Brown earned an Associate of Fine Arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts and is a graduate of Turley Forge School of Blacksmithing in Santa Fe, NM. Throughout his years as a blacksmith, Jason has been featured in various American Indian Art Exhibitions and commissioned award-winning sculptures. Jason has been fortunate to work with Tom Joyce Architectural Blacksmithing for the past ten years, truly immersing him into the wide world of blacksmithing. Jason focuses his artwork on translating the beauty of Northwest Coastal Indian art into hand-forged ironwork.

2010 Discovery Fellowship Winners

Kenneth Williams

"My thoughts come with excitement as well as deep and humble thankfulness. Being chosen as one of the 2010 fellowship winners is a great honor to me, as well as to my work. I feel very grateful to be chosen alongside with the other wonderful fellowship winners. Winning this fellowship is also an honor to my family and the teachings I have learned from them."

Kenneth Williams is a beadworker. He was born into this artistic tradition and has had the benefit of generations' worth of knowledge and experience passed onto him. He began observing and experimenting with beadwork when he was six years old while living on his father's reservation, the Cattaraugus Seneca Indian Territory in western New York. As a teenager, he moved to Utah and began to spend more time with mother's family at the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. His family, the Spoonhunters, have long been regarded as master beadworkers. Their influence and guidance came at a pivotal time for him, such that their support and inspiration spurred him to start bigger projects like dolls, bags, cradleboards, and moccasins. He graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies. He also studied with master beadworker Teri Greeves.

David Boxley
(Alaskan Tsimshian)
Sculpture/Painting/Diverse Arts

"I am very proud to have won this fellowship. It gives me the opportunity to not only come to Santa Fe for the first time to show my art and abilities, but as important, I will bring Tsimshian dancing, masks, drums, regalia and all. I am looking forward to sharing Northwest Native traditions with our friends in the Southwest."

David Boxley is a Tsimshian carver from Metlakatla, Alaska. Born in 1952, he was raised by his grandparents. From them he learned many Tsimshian traditions including the language. After high school he attended Seattle Pacific University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974. He became a teacher and basketball coach to Junior and Senior high students in Alaska and Washington. While teaching in Metlakatla in 1979 he began devoting considerable time to the study of traditional Tsimshian carving. Through researching ethnographic material and carvings from museum collections, Boxley has learned the traditional carving methods of his grandfather's people. David has been directly involved in the formation of four successful dance groups: one in his home village of Metlakatla, Alaska, and others in Seattle, Washington. He led the Tsimshian Haayuuk for 6 years, and now has a new group called the Git-Hoan (people of the Salmon). David has written over 40 songs in his Native language, and carved many masks, rattles, paddles and other performance items. David Boxley is the first Alaskan Tsimshian to achieve national prominence; he is particularly well respected as a totem pole carver, having carved 65 poles in the last 26 years. In all of David Boxley' s works of art, from totem poles, box drums to prints, he emphasizes Tsimshian style. In the recent resurgence of Native American cultural traditions, artists have become the culture bearers for their tribes. Boxley accepts this responsibility not only in his carving accomplishments, but by bringing the traditions he has learned in his path to being a carver back to his home village.

D.Y. Begay

"My initial reaction when I learned heard the announcement was an exhalation of joy and relief. I was extremely pleased. My trip to Cusco, Peru to participate in the "Gathering of the Weavers of the Americas" is a "dream come true"! I had been invited to attend this event but didn't have the financial resources to attend.
The fellowship will provide an extraordinary opportunity for me to go to Peru and participate in this very important gathering of international weavers."

D.Y. is Dine'. She was born to the Totsohnii Clan, the Big Water people, and born for the Tachii'nii Clan, Red Streak Earth people. She is a fourth generation weaver; her unique weaving style has been handed down through generations. D.Y.'s weavings encompass a personal interpretation of the beauty of the high desert where she grew up on the Navajo reservation. She uses the same techniques passed down from her ancestors to create designs that have artistic and intriguing values reflecting her roots. Her paternal grandmother taught her how to card and spin wool and to pick plants for dyeing the yarn to obtain the varied and subtle colors she uses in her weavings. She has exhibited her work all over the world and is included in such museum collections as the Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM, National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute, New York City; Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, OH; Mesa Art Center, Mesa, AZ; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Friday, February 12, 2010

SWAIA reveals 2010 Indian Market Poster Artist

This blog is devoted to tribal art from many different cultures.
The sponsors, TribalWorks. com,, and, try to deal with all of them representatively. Today's subject relates to Native American art and one of the most respected voices in its support.

Breaking with a tradition of naming new and emerging artists as the Indian Market Poster Artist of the Year, Southwestern Association for the Indian Arts has announced that Geronima Cruz Montoya, venerated Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan) artist's work will be honored on this year's poster.

Montoya, who will be 95 during the month following Indian Market, has been both a legend and an institution in Native American art. Her painting that will appear on the poster depicts a number of young Indian women engaged in typical Pueblo crafts. Each wears traditional clothing while they create pottery, weave, embroider and work on moccasins. The painting was created in 1938. The original hangs in the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Montoya's appointment and the poster design were revealed at a special luncheon in Santa Fe on February 10, 2010. She is quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican as reflecting that "doing the old things brings back memories from years ago, the things that just aren't done much any more."

For more information about Montoya's colorful like, which has been devoted to art, use this link

This development leads me to wonder if recent awards at Indian Market didn't push the edge of traditional Indian art a little too far into the non-traditional. I recall thinking that numerous winners in the past couple of years, while adventurous and thought-provoking, had moved a long way from the subjects and techniques that have characterized the genre in the past. These are aspects that had established a large and vibrant pool of supporters and buyers.

I wonder if push back from buyers who have decided to sit on their purses - for whatever reason - may have played a role in this return to the roots of Native American Indian art.

In any case, I applaud the recognition of more traditional techniques and the honor bestowed on Geronima Cruz Montoya, who deserves it.

What do you think?

Monday, February 01, 2010

January 31, 2010 -- Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, doing business on the Web at is offering all its Australian Aboriginal art at 30% off through February 28, 2010.

The selection includes major dot paintings by renowned artists such as Gabriella Possum, Pansy Napangati, Eunice Napangardi and Janet Forrester; bark paintings by Djawida, Mardday, Maymuru and others; various Tiwi and Yirrkala carvings and various prints. All will be sold at 30% off the listed price.

To take advantage of the sale, buyers should visit the web site at , use the secure, encrypted order form to place their order and enter the code “Insider” in the item description area. Reductions of 30% will be taken from the listed price upon completion of the sale.

All items are authentic, guaranteed and returnable within 30 days if they do not satisfy the purchaser’s expectation. These are works of fine art and folk art that the owners of Aboriginals Gallery have cherry-picked over the last 30 years. They were previously on display in the Sanibel Island gallery shop, which has been closed.

Shipping charges will be negotiated prior to sale based on the destination and mode of transport desired by the buyer.

William Ernest Waites, owner of Aboriginals Gallery, stated, “We regret having to dispose of these beautiful items, which we have painstakingly collected during trips to Australia. This is a great opportunity for Australian buyers, however, as the Australian dollar has strengthened to the point it is almost at parity with the US dollar.”

Susanne Waites, co-owner, added, “All of these works carry with them strong and happy memories for us. We hope we can find good homes for them.” trades exclusively on the web or in Fort Myers, FL by appointment only. Call 1-800-305-0185 with questions.

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person also operates websites at, and