Photo by Michele Mountain © 2009 MNA
77th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture
Member Preview July 2, 2010
Public Festival July 3–4, 2010
The Living Legacy of Hopi Expression
The 77th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture returns on the July Fourth weekend to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, bringing 75 of the top Hopi artists and demonstrators, seasoned performers of music and dance, and speakers who will talk about Hopi beliefs and current issues. Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Museum will be brimming with all things Hopi.
First held on the July Fourth weekend in 1930, the Hopi Festival represents the long-standing partnership between the Hopi people and the Museum, and has always had as its mission the preservation of Hopi artistic traditions and the creation of a marketplace for Hopi goods. Over the years the event has become a regional tradition for artists and collectors, alike, and for visitors seeking an authentic cultural experience at “the oldest Hopi art show in the world.”
An important part of the festival is the 50 plus awards that are juried by arts professionals from this region and given to artists who excel in their arts category. Prize money is awarded and ribbons are on display at the artists’ tables, making it easy to spot the finest collectable art pieces.
“This year’s festival will honor longtime friend of MNA and interpretive collaborator, Michael Kabotie (1942–2009),” stated Museum Director Dr. Robert Breunig, a close Kabotie friend. “The struggle to find the center, to find harmony, was the central theme of his life. I’m really excited that Hopi Festival attendees will be able to see our current exhibit Walking in Harmony and to learn more about the evolution, in his life and in his art.”
MNA Heritage Program Coordinator Anne Doyle added, “What’s most exciting to me are the moments of connection between the festival visitors and the artists, entertainers, and educators. When the Hopi culture reveals itself through modern or traditional expressions and I see people enjoying these fine arts, that’s when I know we’ve met our mission and we’ve made MNA co-founder Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton proud.”
Under the Big Tent
Nuvatukya’ovi means “the high up place with snow” and is the Hopi name for the San Francisco Peaks. The Nuvatukya’ovi Sinom Dance Group will perform the Koonina or Supai dance, celebrating the Havasupai people; the Palhikwmana or water maiden dance; and the Koshari or clown dance to unite people and make them happy. All of the dance troup’s regalia―clothing, weaving, jewelry, and tabletas or headdresses―is designed and handmade by the dancers.
Ed Kabotie, Michael Kabotie’s son, is a dynamic artist in his own right. He plays acoustic guitar and Native flute, while incorporating teachings about the Hopi language and its history into his music. He sings in Hopi/Tewa and English in his trilingual compositions. Also, his presentation “Journey of the Sacred Clown, A Tribute to Michael Kabotie” will be shown in the Walking in Harmony exhibit gallery. It is a thoughtful and humorous talk that focuses on his father.
Sidney Poolheco and Sandra Hamana will perform traditional Hopi songs, as well as contemporary tunes and lyrics that capture the elements of change in the Hopi culture. Poolheco’s music is often featured on KUYI 88.1 Hopi Radio.
Three Mesas Productions will present a puppet show performance by youth volunteers from the three Hopi Mesas. The organization utilizes Hopi legends and fables to preserve the Hopi language.
EJ the DJ, Hopi comedian extraordinaire, will emcee the Big Tent performances.
Footprints of the Ancestors
This National Endowment for the Humanities funded project, headed by NAU’s Director of the University Honors Program George Gumerman, Ph.D. and directed by Joelle Clark, addresses the Hopi’s challenging task of retaining their distinct cultural identity, while preparing youths for a fast-paced world of modern lifestyles and different cultures. Archaeology, elder knowledge, and tribal traditions provide the foundation for a Hopi youth exhibit on the core values of Hopi culture. The exhibit Following in the Footprints of Our Ancestors presents the youths’ voice on how they maintain their core values amidst threats and challenges to their deeply rooted traditions. A panel discussion with Hopi youths and elders, and facilitated by Gumerman and Clark, will present their remarkable journeys. Working with Flagstaff spray artist Anthony Esparza, the youths will lead the community in the creation of a collage that explores the future of young Hopis (see Footprints of the Ancestors sidebar).
Heritage Insight Presentations
Community Curator Susan Secakuku will present the exhibit outline for MNA's new permanent Hopi exhibit. She will share exhibit content, themes, and collection ideas and will include time for audience feedback and questions.
Artist Howard Sice will interview Delbridge Honanie (Coochsiwukioma, which means “Falling White Snow”). Honanie’s inventive mind and his traditional painting and carving disciplines have placed him among the most respected and collected artists of the Southwest. Clark Tenakhongva, an award-winning carver will give a presentation on carving katsina dolls.
Gary Tso, owner and operator of Left Handed Hunter Tours, is an energetic speaker who will talk about Hopi culture, Hopi clan migrations, the story of the four worlds, and the Europeanization of Hopiland.
Artists and Demonstrators
L.A. fashion designer Wendell Sakiestewa, another son of Michael Kabotie, will present his clothing line at his booth, with model and actor Kiowa Gordon (Hualapai) of the romance fantasy film series The Twilight Saga. Both were raised in Arizona. Sakiestewa’s designs are ultra contemporary and casual, and he enjoys designing for celebrity clients as well as the general public. Gordon will visit with the public and sign autographs on Sunday from 3–5 p.m. at Sakiestewa’s booth.
Ruby Chimerica and her daughter Anita Koruh will discuss the nuances of Hopi basket making. They gather and dye their own materials and will show how they use them to create plaques. Potters Dorothy and Emerson Ami create pottery in the traditional Hopi way, from gathering the clay, to using all natural pigments to paint them and sheep dung to fire them. And glass blower Ramson Lomatewama will be demonstrating how he makes his glittering, glass spirit figures.
In addition to the 75 booth artists, Museum staffers have made several trips to collect one-of-a-kind consigned works from individual artists across the Hopi Mesas. Collecting trips have always been an important part of the Hopi festivals, allowing artists who produce only a few items per year a chance to sell their work. Hundreds of distinctive art pieces including quilts, rattles, pottery, katsina dolls, paintings, and baskets will be on display in the consignment area.
Outside in the courtyard, kids and all other creative people will be able to make take-home crafts. This year, learn about the cultural significance of pottery making while making clay pinch pots, rain cloud necklaces, and the always popular split twig figurines.
More to See
If you haven’t yet seen Walking in Harmony: The Life and Work of Lomawywesa, Michael Kabotie, the Hopi Festival is a great opportunity to see it. Artist, poet, “mythical archaeologist,” ritual clown, and trickster―Kabotie explored the journeys of humankind by playfully meshing his own Hopi traditions with myth and imagery from around the world.
Also, a modern Hopi kiva mural entitled Journey of the Human Spirit is permanently installed in MNA’s Kiva Gallery. The mural is inspired by a brilliant mural painting tradition that flourished in the Southwest between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. Artists Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie depicted the emergence of the Hopi people; ancient migrations; the coming of the Spanish and Anglos; strip mining in Black Mesa; the abuse of fast food, drugs, and drink by Native people; and finally, the rebirth of Hopi beliefs and traditions from the Hopi point of view.