Indian summer is over, long live Indian winter
Envision a facility made up of 10-by-10-foot cubicles, each occupied by individuals— some notorious, others not— who may be visited only during prescribed hours. Alcatraz? Attica? Joliet? Sing Sing? No, think art — and lots of it. Friday to Sunday, Nov. 27 to 29, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ fourth annual Winter Showcase takes place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
According to Gabe Gomez, marketing and public-relations director for SWAIA, more than 180 artists and artisans will present their art and fine craft work in the center’s Sweeney Room, offering visitors a onestop location to meet artists and see an eclectic group of creative concepts in a variety of media. Painting, sculpture, pottery, photography, works on paper, textiles, weaving, beadwork, basketry, woodworking, and jewelry are featured, along with artist demonstrations, kids’ activities, and film screenings in conjunction with the Center for Contemporary Arts.
“I thinkWinter Market is special because of the intimacy of the show,” said Hopi/Santa Clara Pueblo artist Ed Kabotie, son of famed Hopi artist Michael Kabotie, from his studio in Bernalillo. “The smaller venue and the smaller crowds will allow for more interaction between artists and the public.” This is Kabotie’s first year as an exhibiting artist with the Winter Showcase, although he has performed at previous SWAIA events as a musician.
“About two years ago, I told my father that I felt it was time that I pursue art as a career. My father was very supportive but stressed that ‘ art is not a career ... it’s a journey.’ My personal vision is to express the virtues of Native America through the arts. In my journey, I allow these expressions to take on various forms: music, paintings, carvings, pottery, jewelry, writings, etc. I am currently experimenting with pottery, painting (watercolors), Hopi overlay, and music. I am intrigued with all these processes, so I guess my favorite medium is whatever I’m working on at the time.”
Another relative newcomer to Indian Market is 30-year-old Zuni artist Silvester Hustito, who has been associated with SWAIA, both for the summer and the winter events, for two years. “Having grown up in Santa Fe, I always felt [Indian Market’s] presence,” he said during an interview with Pasatiempo. “And I realized it was a big deal for Indian artists. Myself, I’m just starting out.” But Hustito has started out in a big way. The first week in November, he opened FireGod Gallery at 217 E. Palace Ave. In addition to his own painting, sculpture, and mixed-media work, he showcases art by about 10 Native artists and plans to represent up to 20 people next year. “My true vision for the gallery is for it to be an exciting environment for contemporary Native art,” he said during an interview at the gallery — the walls of which are painted black. “I think the black really brings out the colors of the artwork. Plus I believe mine is the only gallery in town with black walls, something people won’t easily forget.”
Hustito, a self-taught artist, is exploring a number of styles and techniques to hone his skills in different mediums. “I’ve been through maybe a dozen styles in the past two years. I’ve done close to 200 paintings and 50 sculptures,” he said. He also recalled that his earliest inspiration came from a book he was given of Hans Hofmann’s Abstract Expressionist paintings. Later, he became enamored with the work of Santa Clara artist Helen Hardin. “I was so inspired by her fine detail work, which is common to Zuni design, that I locked myself in my room for a year and just worked in fine line.”
Hustito’s latest work, a series of close-up head shots of Native people, are bold-color relief paintings. Their distinctiveness comes from contour lines that are carved, rather than painted or drawn, into Masonite panels, giving these personages a sense of physicality.
Ed Kabotie: The Pariot Trainer, 2009, watercolor and ink, 18 x 24 inches Left, Silvester Hustito: The Hopi Maiden, 2009, carved painting on Masonite, 20 x 20 inches