The Wheel­wright Mu­seum of the Amer­i­can In­dian opens two new shows


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A new ex­hi­bi­tion about the arts of the Ji­car­illa Apache peo­ple opens on Sun­day, June 12, at the Wheel­wright Mu­seum of the Amer­i­can In­dian, with a free day of art demon­stra­tions and a sto­ry­telling per­for­mance. Bas­ketry, bead­work, and mi­ca­ceous pot­tery are the focus of Ji­car­illa: Home Near the Heart of the World, on dis­play through April 16, 2017.

The show in­cludes more than 80 ob­jects dat­ing from the mid-19th cen­tury to more con­tem­po­rary work. Among the most re­cent art­works are pieces pro­duced by artists af­fil­i­ated with the Ji­car­illa Arts and Crafts De­part­ment, a tribal en­ter­prise with the mis­sion of en­cour­ag­ing the per­pet­u­a­tion of the tribe’s tra­di­tional arts. Home Near the Heart of the World also in­cludes bas­kets and bead­work col­lected by Hor­tence Good­man more than half a cen­tury ago and since pur­chased by the Ji­car­illa Apache Na­tion. Good­man was the owner of Good­man’s De­part­ment Store in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, from about 1920 to the 1960s, and was known for ac­cept­ing bas­kets for blan­kets and other mer­chan­dise.

The Ji­car­illa have lived for cen­turies along what is now the New Mex­ico/Colorado bor­der. Their sur­vival was aided by the fact that they nur­tured a net­work of com­merce re­la­tion­ships with other tribes in the re­gion. Among the renowned prod­ucts traded by the Ji­car­il­las were mi­ca­ceous cook­ware, bead­work, and bas­kets of the types vis­i­ble in the show at the Wheel­wright.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, staged in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ji­car­illa Apache Na­tion and the Cen­ter of South­west Stud­ies at Fort Lewis Col­lege in Du­rango, also in­cludes pot­tery from the Mu­seum of In­dian Arts and Cul­ture. Also open­ing at the Wheel­wright on June 12 is a show of jew­elry by Eveli Sa­batie. Born in Al­ge­ria and ed­u­cated in Paris, Sa­batie be­came a pro­tégé of Hopi jew­eler Charles Loloma. In her early thir­ties, she left the Loloma stu­dio and moved to Santa Fe to be­gin her own ca­reer in jew­elry.

At the pub­lic open­ing on Sun­day, Ji­car­illa Apache artists of­fer demon­stra­tions from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there is a sto­ry­telling per­for­mance by Kate Hodges on the life of Eveli Sa­batie at noon. The Wheel­wright (505-982-4636) is lo­cated at 704 Camino Lejo. En­trance is by mu­seum ad­mis­sion af­ter the free pub­lic open­ing day. — Paul Wei­de­man

Above, Ji­car­illa Apache head­dress, circa 1870, Col­lec­tion of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Cen­ter; left, Snake Pen­dant by Eveli Sa­batie, circa 1990

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