Journeys in Spirit 2021: Traditional and Contemporary Native Art
May 21 – June 22, 2020
4th Friday Art Walk at ‘Tis Friday May 28 5:00 – 7:00 PM
In its 12th year, the ‘Tis “Journeys in Spirit 2021: Traditional and Contemporary Native Art Exhibition” is a month-long event produced in partnership with the Museum of Indigenous People (formerly the Smoki Museum)
Art has always played a powerful and integral role in traditional Native culture. Paintings and carvings of early ancestors can be found on the rocks and walls of sacred spaces and places, inside caves, canyon walls, ceremonial lodges, and mountainsides. Embellished relics from every day and ceremonial use have been found scattered in and around long abandoned community sites.
Today, many of the traditions continue to be handed down from generation to generation. Children are introduced to the arts at a young age. They are taught that color and imagery carry symbolic meaning and that through the arts stories can be told.
The mediums and style vary from tribe to tribe. Basketry, bead working, ceramics, silversmithing, weaving and woodcarving are traditional crafts, and they are often integrated into the making of weaponry, musical instruments, and ceremonial attire and props.
The Native artists of “Journeys in Spirit 2021” come from varied backgrounds and cultures. Many of them live within and outside of their tribal communities. Some of them work in a traditional style while others work in the modern mediums of painting and photography. As varied as their art is, they share a common ground. They are Native artists, and there are stories to be told.
I am a 19 year old artist raised here in Prescott. My focus is on portraiture , and capturing the beauty of culture through details, contrast and color. My Native Heritage is Chiracahua Apache, Yaqui and Comanche . I am passionate and dedicated in displaying my own culture in an intense and creative way . Unconventional beauty is shown through the wrinkles , scars , pores and face paint of the individuals portrayed. ~Emma Dineh
“Hopi children in infancy have their grandmothers, but they also have Ha’hai’ee who is their grandmother katsina. She is there for them at the moment of birth. Her spirit is manifested in Hopi heirloom white corn. During their hair washing and naming ceremony, the corn is placed in their crib. Ha’hai’ee is always with them. She nurtures them. She assures them that they will never be left alone.” ~Filmer Kewanyama
“The Year of the Woman” collection is a series I started back in 2019. They are portraits of today’s Native women. They are portraits of celebration. Each of them carries an attribute: Strength. Reverence. Gratitude. Tradition. Culture. Resilience. Innocence. Confidence. Vision.
“We Rise” was honored with the 1st place award in the Heard Indian Market 2021.
My latest work is “The Wild Wild West”. It is a portrait of the young Navajo woman, Naiomi Glasses which was rendered from a photograph taken by her brother Ty. While Naiomi is an accomplished traditional weaver she has a tremendous passion for skateboarding which she took up at the age of 4. She is currently working diligently to gather funds for the Dine’ Skate Garden Project which will bring a skateboard park to the 2 Grey Hills/Toadliena community on the Navajo Nation. A series of short videos of her skateboarding in traditional attire have catapulted her into the public eye via Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, Cowboys and Indians Magazine, Tony Hawk, and Teen Vogue.
The making of “The Wild Wild West” was quite the journey. Painting in oil on a paper map was invigorating and the subject was inspiring.” ~ Karen Clarkson
“Ancient Keep” Maryhelen Ewing
Since I can remember as a child growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Land of the Red People, the Five Civilized Tribes, when my father told me there were relatives in his family of the Muscogee Creek tribe, I have felt it is truly who I am. I had a whole fantasy life as a little Indian girl even though there was no culture passed on to me. If I was around any of those relatives, I was never told they were of the tribe. But, even though all of that is lost to me, just the knowledge of what’s in my blood carries through in the way I feel in the world and in how I understand my place in it. Loving nature is huge.
From an early age my creativity in music and art was always encouraged; I was taught many songs, pieces to play on the piano, and always had drawings to show the parents. Even though music was the priority, my heart was in art, to the point that I begged and begged for art classes and lessons. Mother knew best though, that my ability as a musician was the best career opportunity for me to have success and an independent income. So, off I went to New York City and The Juilliard School, with my violin.
After 33 years in the music world of New York, first freelancing, then ultimately employed part time by the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestras, studying art started to be on my mind. I began taking classes at the Art Students League across the street from Carnegie Hall in my free time, wow, finally!
Retiring to Prescott, Arizona and finding the amazing art faculty at Yavapai College and the wonderful artist community here has been truly a whole new life. My art has been represented and awarded prizes at Mountain Artist Guild, Prescott Arts Co-op, Grayleaf Galleria, Natural Accents Gallery both here and in Taos, Agora Gallery in New York City, Sedona Art Center, Phippen Art Show on the Square, and ‘Tis Art Gallery.
Being able to explore the connection to my Muscogee Creek heritage through the yearly “Journeys in Spirit” exhibitions at ‘Tis, has been a dream come true. I have begun to read and study more about the culture and have already made some paintings reflecting my knowledge and connection. I also make art about nature in painting landscapes and the animal world, honoring my native blood and that close relationship to Mother Earth.