Moenkopi, AZ – The large room was filled with art and artists and more were located around the landscaped grounds outside. Frederick Andrews from Shimopovi was providing Indian flute music in the background. The Legacy Inn at Moenkopi is a form of art in itself and served as the host location for the Tuhisma Show, 2012.
Tuhisma is the Hopi word for artist. A high percentage of tribal members practice various forms of art and many art forms were visible for this show in early October. Basket makers, potters, silver smiths, carvers, weavers, and sculptors were present.
White Swan, a potter from the village of Walpi, was the poster artist and also received three awards. A small pottery turtle with two youngsters aboard titled “Going to see the Dance” was a winner along with a large pot, exquisitely painted in a square format. White Swan does many art shows including the Santa Fe Art Market, Heard Museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis.
Another potter, Lawrence Namoki is also from First Mesa. He’s been a potter for 35 years and is now doing a new style of black pottery heavily decorated in intricate designs and with a special message. He explained that many people are worried about December 21, 2012 possibly being the end of the world as the Mayans are predicting. “I say no, it’s the changeover from the 4th cycle into the 5th cycle which is prophesized by the Hopi. It’s not going to be anything like a major natural disaster.” He talks of the “strange phenomenas of the weather patterns” as an indication of this changeover and feels this changeover is already taking place. He uses his pottery to tell that story. It’s unique yet beautifully crafted and painted.
Kyle Navenma’s style of wood sculpture is more freestyle than traditional Hopi work yet retains a tie to Hopi culture. One award winning piece was entitled “Dusk and Dawn.” It’s made of laminated plywood with colors added from wood stain or acrylic paint. “It’s from sunrise till sunset as it alternated on each side,” he explained.
Kachina dolls (or katsinas) are more traditional forms of carving. Donald Sockyma of Kykotsmovi carves kachinas from single pieces of cottonwood root, “with absolutely nothing added on,” he explains. The workmanship is amazing to the smallest detail, both front and back. This particular doll was a Hilili. “These dance while the mud heads sing to them. They are supposed to represent guards,” he explained. “I spent about a year working on this doll, working a little bit at a time.”
Keith Torres is another kachina doll carver from Walpi who began carving in 1984. He injected humor in his work by carving a Tewa clown holding a basketball with a basketball hoop on a pole beside it. “My boy used to play basketball for Hopi High School,” he explained. “Buyers like it because of the humor. I like to do different stuff. I made a set of clowns playing softball,” he added.
Al Edward, originally from Moenkopi, began stone carving when he attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe back in 1986. The Koshari sculpture he displayed at Tuhisma shows his mastery of stone carving. He and his wife Iva Honeyestewa own and operate a small gallery, Iskasokpu Gallery, on Second Mesa.
Iva weaves baskets and displayed a number of yucca sifter baskets at this show. She began weaving baskets about 14 years ago. She received three awards here and commented, “I’m excited.” She explained that she collects the yucca, splits, sorts, and dyes it before starting the weaving. “I’ve been trying to get in new designs with more detail. The latest is a three-dimensional turtle with a shell.” She has also been selected for the Eiteljorg Museum Artist in Residency for 2013.
Hopi silver work is well known for its style of silver overlay. Roy Talahaftewa, who operates a gallery on Second Mesa, has been working with silver about 35 years. His work reflects that lengthy experience and includes some items with stones set along with the more traditional overlay technique. He is also very focused on youth programs, teaching and mentoring youngsters in silver smithing and making pottery.
Numerous other outstanding artists were present and visitors were free to wander amongst the artists, view the work, and perhaps buy a piece or two.
A preliminary showing was open the evening before Tuhisma opened and traditional Hopi foods were served. Included were such things as noqkwivi (lamb stew), paatupsuki(hominy corn and beans), piki bread, and more universal foods such as watermelon and coffee.