Trading Concepts: Re-Visions of Southwest Artistic Heritage

Curated by Teresa Montoya

Stylized Drawing of ParrotStylized Drawing of ParrotAwa Tsireh (San Ildefonso), c. 1930-34
Ink on Paper
IAF.P188
Photograph by Jennifer Day
Courtesy of the School for Advanced Research

Example of how important tropical birds (and their feathers) were and continue to be in many Pueblo communities.
Stylized Drawing of ParrotAwa Tsireh (San Ildefonso), c. 1930-34
Ink on Paper
IAF.P188
Photograph by Jennifer Day
Courtesy of the School for Advanced Research

Example of how important tropical birds (and their feathers) were and continue to be in many Pueblo communities.

The phenomena of trade and adaptation are universal occurrences, experienced throughout time in all societies and cultural contexts. However, such changes within Native communities have often been mistakenly regarded by some as cultural loss or total assimilation. While the introduction of European colonization profoundly affected Native traditions, beliefs, language, and trade practice, Native peoples traded materials, methods, and ideas with each other for millennia prior to contact. Today, trade continues to be used simultaneously as a medium for cultural affirmation and revitalization.

Trade creates new opportunities for intercultural exchange, growth, and sharing. One area of contemporary trade that expresses indigenous cultural continuity is the Native art world. In this online exhibition, an exploration of traditional views of Southwest trade will be explored vis-à-vis the interpretation of two contemporary Native artists, Marla Allison (Laguna Pueblo) and Aric Chopito (Zuni Pueblo). These two artists create unique artwork that incorporates both historical designs and personal innovation, presenting an example of modern adaptation of the trading process.

The development of “trading” aesthetic concepts is not a new model. This is how art has always been created, shared, and revered.

Sponsored by Anne Ray Charitable Trust

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