2023 Rollin and Mary Ella King Native Artist Fellow
Ohkway Owingeh and Hopi artist, Michael Namingha (he/him), is a versatile photographer who combines new and old techniques to create a commentary on the rapidly changing landscape of the American West.
Michael’s works contain images with abstracted compositions, often incorporating color psychology and skewed perspectives to convey a larger message about surrounding environmental issues. Recent series, including Altered Landscapes I, III and III, address the environmental impact of the oil industry and climate change on New Mexico. For example, his work in Altered Landscape II documents the fire seasons of 2020 and 2022, the latter of which New Mexico witnessed its largest forest fire on record with the Hermits Creek Fire.
A curator for the exhibition, Grounded in Clay, Namingha’s early research for the exhibition led to an intense curiosity to learn more about his family’s artistic legacy. Both his grandmother, Dextra Quotskuyva, and great-great-great grandmother, Nampeyo, are represented in the IARC collection from which the exhibition took form.
About his curatorial experiences for Grounded in Clay, Namingha says:
“I was visually drawn to the many design patterns of each pottery piece that also stirred my childhood memories. As I wrote an essay for the exhibition catalogue about a pottery piece by my grandmother Dextra Quotskuyva (great granddaughter of Nampeyo), I recognized a family lineage in their creation of new imagery from cultural fragments that inspired this project to find and articulate my artistic roots through research and storytelling… I feel like my grandmother is pictorially telling that story but also telling the story of our culture. Now when I see work by my grandmother Dextra I also look for clues that began with Nampeyo and may connect to my own artistic practice.
While at SAR, he will use a photo-screenprinting sand process, in combination with oral histories, to translate works by his great-great-great grandmother, Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo — who is credited with reviving old design traditions among Hopi potters.
Namingha will be in residence from September 1, 2023, to November 30, 2023.
Michael Namingha (Ohkway Owingeh/Hopi), “Altered Landscape#1”, 2019. C-print face mounted to shaped acrylic, 35″ x 35″ x 1 “. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Michael Namingha (Ohkway Owingeh/Hopi), “Altered Landscape 12”, 2021. C-print face mounted to shaped acrylic, 28″ x 38″ x 1″. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Michael Namingha : Artist Talk & Studio Tour
Thursday, November 16, 2023 @ 5:30pm – 7:00pm
Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, SAR campus, 660 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM