Old Roots, New Growth: Adaptation and Innovation in Contemporary Southwestern Indian Basketry

IARC Seminar

November 2–5, 1997

Dubin Artist Fellow Kevin Navasie, a yucca ring basketmaker from Hopi First Mesa, worked at the IARC throughout the summer on his baskets, and assisted with the November 1997 Indian Basketry Convocation. This meeting brought together ten accomplished basketmakers from throughout the southwest who represented Santa Clara Pueblo, Navajo, Akimel O’Odam, Tohano O’Odam, Jicarilla Apache, and several different Hopi villages. The School commissioned a basket from each weaver for the permanent collection, provided a stipend, space in a twelve bedroom house so all the participants could live together, meals and transportation, and assisted with their study of the basketry collection here.

The convocation participants spent four days of intense discussion and debate on topics at the frontiers of this artform including the creative process; the past, present, and future of this ancient tradition; and styles, materials, and techniques. The goal of this convocation was to provide an opportunity for in-depth communication among these highly skilled artists whose work is among the finest, most creative being produced today. The School provided the format to facilitate and encourage productive discussion that broadened the horizons of individual participants and lead to the dissemination of information for scholarly and public audiences.

The basketmakers decided that a museum exhibition and a small basketry market would help expose more people to their work. The result was a public exhibition and a weekend-long public educational seminar in conjunction with a basketry market which was held May 14–16, 1998 at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition built upon the School's convocation, incorporating the work of all the basket convocation participants. The IARC loaned thirty historic period baskets from the School’s collection, as well as the new pieces, which had been commissioned for the convocation. The exhibition runs through October 28,1998. 

Annie Antone Tohono O’Odham
Sally Black Navajo
Lorraine Black Navajo
Mary Holiday Black Navajo
Rikki Francisco Akimel O’Odham
Joe Val Gutierrez Santa Clara Pueblo
Abigail Kaursgowva Hopi, Third Mesa
Remalda Lomayestewa Hopi, Second Mesa
Kevin Navasie Hopi, First Mesa
Molly Pesata Jicarilla Apache

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