Artists, Natural Resources, and the Environment

Rose Simpson, Santa Clara Pueblo, sculptor
Kathy Wallace, Karuk/Yurok/Hupa Valley, basket maker
Roy Kady, Navajo, weaver
Cynthia Chavez Lamar, IARC Director, School for Advanced Research (moderator)

IARC Speaker Series, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 12:00 pm, Free



“Artists, Natural Resources, and the Environment” with Roy Kady, Rose Simpson, and Kathy Wallace. This panel discussion was moderated by IARC director Cynthia Chavez Lamar.

Today artists working in many media can face challenges in creating their work due to depleted natural resources and environmental factors. The panelists will discuss their personal experiences and share their opinions regarding these challenges and how it can potentially impact their art.

Roy KadyRoy KadyPhotograph courtesy of Roy KadyRoy KadyPhotograph courtesy of Roy Kady

Roy Kady has been weaving since the age of nine, when he learned the art from his grandparents, Elizabeth Kady and Kady Gonna Begay, and his mother, Mary K. Clah. Today he has fully mastered the art of Diné (Navajo) weaving and is considered to be a master weaver/fiber artist among his peers and his community. He also served one term as the president of the Teec Nos Pos Chapter of the Navajo Nation and maintains a large flock of registered Navajo-Churro sheep.

Kady’s work was recently exhibited in the University of Denver’s Museum of Anthropology and also in "Men Who Weave: A Revival in Diné Bikeyah," which he co-curated for the Navajo Nation Museum in 2004. His work was also included in a 1999 exhibit at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe titled “Weaving in the Margins.” He has been invited to share his sheep and weaving culture in South America, Africa, Venezuela, and Italy. Today Kady has learned many other weaving techniques and is incorporating them into his repertoire, creating awesome and unique designs and patterns. He is also actively involved with the Diné youth, teaching them weaving/fiber arts.

Rose SimpsonRose SimpsonPhotograph courtesy of Rose SimpsonRose SimpsonPhotograph courtesy of Rose SimpsonRose Simpson was born in Santa Fe, NM, and raised among an extended family of artists in Santa Fe and Santa Clara Pueblo. Her mother, Roxanne Swentzell, a known ceramic sculptor in the indigenous art world, and her father, Patrick Simpson, a contemporary artist in wood and metal, introduced her to the art world at a young age. Of both indigenous and Anglo descent, with art and philosophy primary in both families, she has pursued the pure expression of truth through many forms of art including sculpture, printmaking, drawing, creative writing, music, and dance. Simpson’s work often signifies the constant struggle between the two worlds in which most modern indigenous people live; the world of traditional Native culture and that of the colonial perspective (assimilation). She has participated in many group shows, including the annual “Pop Life" events around the country curated by Apache Skateboard artist Douglas Miles.

After studying for three years at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Simpson transferred to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and graduated in 2007 with a bachelor of fine arts in studio arts. In 2011, she obtained her masters of fine arts in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. While a student there, Simpson participated in “Clay in Japan,” a foreign study opportunity, which resulted in a group show of work in Kashihara-Jingumae, Kansai Prefecture, Japan.

Kathy WallaceKathy WallacePhotograph courtesy of Kathy WallaceKathy WallacePhotograph courtesy of Kathy Wallace

Kathy Wallace has been making traditional Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa baskets and necklaces for thirty-five years. As one of the founding “mothers” of the California Basketweavers Association, Wallace has worked to revive basket weaving among California tribes, as well as to protect the practice of the art itself. Today she is helping to accomplish this through teaching California Native culture and Native American basketry at San Francisco State University. She works with museums and galleries to make sure that the interpretation of California Native culture is guided by Native American consultants and to make access to archival collections available to traditional practitioners. Her work with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) includes assuring tribes that the collections are archived in the way that they think is best and allowing them to guide the handling of the ancestors and sacred items in a respectful manner.

As a practicing artist, Wallace harvests the native plant materials for her work utilizing ancestral knowledge that has been passed down to her. It is this ritualized practice that drives her efforts to educate lawmakers and state and federal agencies on the hazards of pesticide spraying in the traditional gathering areas located in the forests and wetlands of northern California. She has also worked to ensure that controlled burns are conducted in certain areas to ensure ongoing plant regeneration. Wallace's vision for the future is to one day see all people practicing at least one art form that ties them in some way to the earth around them.

Cynthia Chavez LamarCynthia Chavez LamarFormer Director, IARCCynthia Chavez LamarFormer Director, IARCCynthia Chavez Lamar joined SAR as the Indian Arts Research Center Director in August 2007. Chavez Lamar has an art background in clay sculpting, printmaking, and photography and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She previously worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, where she curated the Native community components of the inaugural exhibition Our Lives: Contemporary Lives and Identities. Chavez Lamar also served as museum director at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM. Since joining SAR, Chavez Lamar has facilitated seminars with Native artists and led projects to help enhance the collections documentation at IARC. Her seminar series “Art, Gender, and Community” culminated with a co-edited SAR Press book in August 2010 titled Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue. She has collaborated with Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache moccasin makers to create a banner exhibit currently traveling to venues in the Southwest. This project also resulted in a short film to accompany the exhibit, produced by Chavez Lamar with Red Ant Films, called To Feel the Earth: Moccasins in the Southwest. She continues to work on additional collaborative projects and programs with the Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Sponsored by School for Advanced Research

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