"To see the work of emerging artists...is to have great faith in the future of these traditional art forms..."
On Friday, I began my day at Indian Market at 7 a.m. as a volunteer on the set-up crew for the preview gallery at the Santa Fe Convention Center. This is the time when each artist in Market has the opportunity to show one or two works that he or she will be showing during the weekend. I always enjoy my assignment in the young artists' section of the gallery. To see the work of emerging artists, often in a direct extension of a long family lineage in a particular art form, is to have great faith in the future of these traditional art forms.
At 11 a.m., I switched gears and switched hats to become part of the SantaFe.com media unit, getting ready to stream from the Market at the Santa Fe Convention Center. We began webcasting the ceremony at 11:30 a.m., with a brief welcome from Bruce Bernstein, executive director of SWAIA (the presenter of Indian Market); followed by a welcoming presentation by First-Nation singers and dancers from the Pacific Northwest, who began the program.
After this moving opening, Bruce introduced the winning artists of the various categories. Each of these artists had a moment to give thanks for the honors – often in their native language. Bruce added a personal insight when introducing sculptor Marcus Wall and his work, a story about a time when Marcus shared his burgeoning artistic success with his father: "Good, you can buy a car now," his dad had told him. This anecdote and other personal expressions of thanks, appreciation and honor are what make this ceremony so meaningful for all who attend. We hope that our first live video stream of this event will be the start of many exclusive looks at SWAIA’s great annual weekend.
As always, the announcement of the “Best of Show” award is an eagerly-awaited moment. Bruce Bernstein allowed just the right measure of suspense into the ceremony, waiting until right at the end of the event to announce the winner. The exquisite basketry work of Jeremy Frey of Indian Township, Maine, a member of the Passamaquoddy community, was named “Best of Show” for 2011 (pictured above); signaling an ascendancy of that particular art form. Jeremy’s achievement in this traditional category has, I think, extended the genre, the way jewelers and others have stretched the boundaries of one art form after another in the last decade of Market.
The other artists honored for their great achievements included: Joyce Growing Thunder, Beadwork and Quillwork doll; Valerie Calabaza, Youth – necklace and earrings; Arthur Holmes, Pueblo Wood Carvings; Lynda Teller Pete, Textiles; Tulane John Whimsical (Lego Piece); Jamie Okuma, Diverse Art Forms; Nancy Youngblood, Miniature; Dyani Reynolds White Hawk, Painting, Chris Pruitt, Jewelry; Marcus Wall, Sculpture; Pat Pruitt, Innovation Award; Bennie Klain, Film (Columbus Day Legacy) and Jodi Naranjo, Pottery (pictured above).
Most of these artists may have returned to their communities by now, but there is still much to see of their work and that of other native artists at galleries around town. I am always drawn to the native-owned galleries of Lincoln Avenue, including Niman Fine Art, Legends, Allan Houser Gallery and Blue Rain; but there is great work all around town. A new show by Darren Vigil Gray opened on Friday at Gerald Peters on the Paseo and is all the proof one might need to realize how this artist continues to grow.
More on Darren’s show later.