MAR­KET

The Denver Post - - TRAVEL -

some of ways. Even tra­di­tional works are con­tem­po­rary in their vi­tal­ity, vi­brancy, use of color, tex­ture and line.

And while the mar­ket cel­e­brates the tra­di­tional, in­no­va­tion also is on dis­play. Ev­ery year brings “new artists and new in­ter­pre­ta­tions along­side forms that go back gen­er­a­tions,” says Dallin May­bee, CEO of the South­west­ern As­so­ci­a­tion for In­dian Arts, the non­profit that runs In­dian Mar­ket.

Among the most pop­u­lar re­cent ad­di­tions is a fash­ion show, this year fea­tur­ing Taos Pue­blo’s Pa­tri­cia Michaels, who demon­strated on “Project Run­way” that Na­tive de­sign can be very much fash­ion for­ward. (Her works will be show­ing at Paris World Fash­ion Week at the Lou­vre in Novem­ber.) “Na­tive fash­ion is the orig­i­nal haute cou­ture,” May­bee says. “Ev­ery piece is one of a kind and done by hand.”

For her part, Michaels says it took decades for her work to be ac­cepted at the Santa Fe mar­ket. Af­ter years of knock­ing at the door, she staged a guerilla fash­ion show fea­tur­ing flow­ered para­sols made of tree branches, wrought iron, flower petals and el­e­gant fab­rics. She asked her mod­els to pray as they pa­raded across the cen­tral plaza with their para­sols. “I wanted to bring prayer to the mar­ket,” she says of her 2009 protest. “Pray for in­spi­ra­tion,” she told them, “for cre­ativ­ity, em­pow­er­ment, fe­male en­ergy and pray for ac­cep­tance.”

Those prayers ap­par­ently were an­swered, be­cause the fol­low­ing year she was in­vited to do an­other show, and to­day the an­nual fash­ion show is a mar­ket high­light. The $10 ticket for ad­mis­sion is one of the week­end’s best bar­gains. Also new to the event is IM:EDGE, a venue for con­tem­po­rary works by Na­tive artists, in­clud­ing dig­i­tal art.

For first time vis­i­tors, it helps to know the mar­ket’s rou­tines. Artists selected for the mar­ket may en­ter their best works in a ju­ried com­pe­ti­tion. Judg­ing takes place on Fri­day morn­ing of mar­ket week­end with awards in 11 cat­e­gories. Win­ning en­tries are an­nounced at a lun­cheon that day and re­main on dis­play at Santa Fe’s con­ven­tion cen­ter through Fri­day evening.

“Pre­view night is a great way to see the up­per ech­e­lons of each clas­si­fi­ca­tion and medium,” May­bee says. In fact it may be the only way, be­cause mu­seum cu­ra­tors and se­ri­ous col­lec­tors are in line be­fore dawn to snap up rib­boned pieces when booth sales of­fi­cially be­gin on the plaza at 7 a.m. on Satur­day.

As for col­lect­ing, any­one can do it. “As you move around the mar­ket, you will hope­fully find art forms in a va­ri­ety of price points,” May­bee says. “Def­i­nitely col­lect what you like, what makes you happy enough to want to wel­come the piece into your home where you can en­joy it for years to come.”

In the week pre­ced­ing the mar­ket, a host of re­lated events take place across the city. Con­certs, dances, films, pre­view par­ties and panel dis­cus­sions with artists and ac­tivists, gallery re­cep­tions and spe­cial mu­seum ex­hibits are all part of the mix. Many events are free, but tick­eted pro­grams tend to sell out quickly.

Artists come from 230 U.S. and First Na­tion tribes. Join­ing the lu­mi­nar­ies from New Mex­ico’s 19 pueb­los are Kaska and Cree from the Yukon, In­ga­lik-athabas­can from Alaska, Luiseno and Shoshone from Cal­i­for­nia, Chippewa and Ot­tawa from the Great Lakes, Seneca from New York, Pas­samaquoddy from Maine and more.

“Nowhere else in the U.S. or Canada can you see so many na­tions in one place at one time,” May­bee says.

Mar­guerite Moritz is a writer and film­maker who lives in Boul­der.

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