Thursday, February 02, 2017

One of our favorite Zuni artists is retiring.

Lena Boone's Zuni carving heritage goes back to the legendary Teddy Weahkee (d.), one of the first Zuni artists to carve fetish creatures, arguably the very first carve them as an art form.

Born in 1946, Lena has worked enough years to decide to stop carving. This is a considerable loss to collectors of Zuni fetish carvings. Lena and her sister, Dinah (Gasper), were daughters of the Teddy's daughter, Edna Leki (d.), who was also a highly collected carver.

Dinah was married to Peter Gasper Sr. (d.). There offspring included carvers, Debra Gasper (Tsethlikai) and Peter Gasper, Jr. All of who carried on the carving tradition.

Lena, who was married to Rignie Boone (d.), has two children, Evalena Boone and Leland Boone. Both continue to carve.

While Lena is retiring, her influence continues in her nephew, Robert Michael Weahkee. Lena has been a major mentor and inspiration for Robert Michael Weahkee. In fact, it was Lena who first introduced to Robert Micheal Weahkee's work. It was in Santa Fe, NM, where we had agreed to meet Lena so she could deliver new carvings we were purchasing from her. At the conclusion of that transaction, she excitedly asked us to join her at her car. She opened the trunk and eagerly presented new antler altar carvings  by Robert Michael. This was our first encounter with his carvings and the first time we had even learned about him. We were impressed by their artistry and immediately acquired them,

It was the continuation of a beautiful friendship with the Weahkee family. We continue to visit with Lena, Evalena, Leland and Robert Michael at her Zuni home each year.

What customarily happens when an artist stops creating is a rush to acquire his or her work that is still on the market. This is often followed by a price increase inspired by decreasing supply of new carvings. As a matter of principle, we refuse to engage in this behavior. We will continue offer all of the work we have by Lena,for as long as we have items to sell, at the original prices, encourages you to take advantage what is available. We also encourage you to consider the work of Lena's Weahkee family, all of which is outstanding. Elah kwa.

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