75th Hopi show at MNA a crowd-pleaser

2008-07-05T22:00:00Z 75th Hopi show at MNA a crowd-pleaserBy ROSANDA SUETOPKA THAYER
Special to the Sun
Arizona Daily Sun

On Saturday, artists from the Hopi Tribe and the Museum of Northern Arizona celebrated what Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa termed "75 years of friendship, appreciation and honor for Hopi creativity and innovation."

The 75th Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture is now officially the "oldest Hopi Show in the world" and it brought over 60 artists from all 12 Hopi villages together this weekend in Flagstaff to exchange ideas, immerse visitors in their language and artistry, dances focused on Hopi values of humility, cooperation, respect and continued Earth stewardship.

The museum parking lot was full by 10:30 a.m., and cars lined Fort Valley Road for a half-mile south of the museum.

In a special gallery at the museum, MNA Director Robert Breunig hand-selected several examples of Hopi work that have been purchased since that original 1930s introduction to the public. The works gave a stunning overview of how some portions of Hopi art, such as painting, jewelry or clothing design, have changed dramatically. But some mediums, like textiles or pottery, continue to utilize centuries-old techniques and patterns that are still extremely marketable today.

MNA Heritage Program Coordinator Ann Doyle ran a tight ship during the weekend event, being responsible for Hopi demonstrators, checking last-minute details art items and on a Hopi fashion show, reception food and drink and Hopi reggae presentation. Silent auction items were being sold to help get a memorial scholarship fund set up that would honor the late Ferrell Secakuku, who served as Hopi Tribal Chairman and was also credited with helping to resolve the Navajo Hopi Land dispute.

There were also booths that featured creative endeavors like the Three Mesas Productions, which is a performing arts-based idea of Leslie Robledo of Bacavi village. She uses puppets and young Hopis to teach positive messages with each presentation.

This year's Best of Show winner was Tressa Collateta Kaganveama, who won for her Four Cradle Katsina Potasivu/Coil Basket. Kaganveama was not present at the show, but her work is widely respected as completed true to traditional form, with innovative construction themes.

Taking home two major awards this year, including the coveted Charles Loloma Award and the MNA Spirit Award, was Ramon Dalangyawma, from Hotevilla village.

Dalangyawma, age 54, has been a master jeweler specializing in traditional Hopi overlay for the past 28 years. Dalangyawma was taught the art of silvermaking through the Hopi Crafts apprenticeship program and credits Emory Holmes for mentoring him.

Dalangyawma says he feels that "designing the pieces" are the most difficult part of the process for him and was somewhat surprised in his two awards from the weekend.

His award-winning dragonfly bracelet, which sold for $1,250, was a marvel of cutting-edge saw technique, clean straightforward design coupled with meticulous soldering execution.

Asked if he could provide advice for budding young artists, Dalangyawma said, "… Artistic expression comes from within and maybe I could help develop that for someone, I have only mentored my own son, who is now in the military, but if someone is sincere, I would be more than willing to help them."

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