"Indian Market represents the art and culture of more than 100 North American and Canadian tribes and is the highlight of the summer season"
Anthropologist Edgar Hewett opened the first Indian Fair in 1922, establishing the celebration of authentic indigenous art and culture in Santa Fe. Now known as Indian Market. the event represents the art and culture of more than 100 North American and Canadian tribes and is the highlight of the summer season in the City Different. Now sponsored by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, (SWAIA), Indian Market gives native artists a platform to sell directly to and connect with buyers and collectors, preserving the integrity and authenticity of their art, community, and culture. SWAIA presents an event of national and international significance attended by more than 80,000 people bringing an estimated 100 million dollars in revenue to the state.
SWAIA has formed new alliances and for the second year has extended Indian Market to a weeklong event. Indian Market Week events showcase indigenous art and culture in film, literature, music and fashion and culminate in Indian Market Weekend. SWAIA partners with the Smithsonian Institute in showing films at the New Mexico History Museum. The New Mexico History Museum also hosts the creation of a mural painting titled “The hour has arrived” executed by a team of artists. Representatives of the indigenous tribes of Alaska are making their second appearance at Indian Market Week and testify to SWAIA’s commitment to the inclusiveness of all American Indian tribes. The Git Hoan dancers and arts and crafts fromThe Sealaska Heritage Institute will showcase the tribes of Alaska at Cathedral Park.
Throughout the year youth mentoring program workshops have been held to encourage and inspire. On August 10, works from these programs will be shown at the Santa Fe Library on Washington Street. Jewelers education and potters education workshops sponsored by Conoco Phillips under the recently formed Traditional Arts Program is a new presentation this year. Traditional Tula casting of silver from the Navaho Nation Museum will be exhibited by Darryl D. Begay, legendary for his point of view and style of working Navaho silver. This new event a definitely a must see.
Artisans who participate in Indian Market are juried through a rigorous process and must also produce proof of tribal recognition from a federally recognized tribe. SWAIA takes care to preserve the authenticity of materials used to create the art. Authenticity is a huge issue for native artisans. One of the criteria used to admit artists to participate in Indian Market and Market week is upholding tradition by using only natural materials. Aug 2 SWAIA will host a discussion at Collected Works bookstore on “What Native Art Is” This discussion, lead by a panel of artists and business owners, is meant to educate and assist buyers and collectors considering a purchase of Native American Art.
Fashion is a huge part of any cultural experience and Indian Market Week covers this aspect of Native American life with two fashion events. The Native American Clothing Contest, held on the Plaza, is one of the most photographed events of Indian Market Week. Closing out the market, this unique fashion event features traditional and contemporary clothing. Six native American judges and one special celebrity judge, Twilight star and Native American Chaske Spencer will award honors for excellence. The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts sponsors a fashion event featuring current and past students of the Institute of American Indian Arts, the only four year fine arts institution in the country devoted to contemporary native arts of all tribes including Alaska. This independent event held during Indian Market Week takes place at Allan Houser Park featuring ten Native American designers and DJ Matt Carracaso-Trujillo. Called “Fashion Heat”, this promises to be a fashion event you won’t want to miss.
Tailinh Agoyo, SWAIA’s director of Public Relations and Marketing, is passionate about the anthropological perspective of all aspects of Indian Market events. SWAIA works diligently to communicate the bridge between traditional and contemporary native culture. “Art is essential to our past and present”, says Agoyo, “new traditions are being born within the Native American culture all the time.” Agoyo points to objects like Native American medical students using fully beaded stethoscopes, Apache skateboards, amazing shoes decorated in native motifs by Louis Gong of Eighth Generation and beaded hip hop medallions as examples of Native American traditions taking on a contemporary flavor.
August 13-19, Indian Market and Indian Market Week events promise to be exciting and new for 2012. Find out more information about all the events for the week at http:// swaia.org/. Check Institute of American Indian Arts website www.iaia.edu/ for information on Fashion Heat.