EVENTS 2024 AT THE SANTA FE CONVENTION CENTER

SPECIAL EXHIBITION
Art of Timeless Beauty, the Navajo Child’s Blanket
Curated by Robert Parsons

Navajo, or Diné, are recognized as great masters of textile weaving. This exhibition will showcase some of the finest examples of their 19th-century child’s blankets. It will explore the evolution of their blanket designs, from simple bands and stripes to more elaborate and complex patterns, and the historical context for how the Navajo (Diné) adapted their weaving through a changing world and oppressive conditions. Curated by Robert Parson, the show will include a beautiful catalog.

The Navajo experiences are woven into each of the blankets in this exhibit, each weft woven with songs and a sense of place where they were woven in a home with their own sheep’s wool. This tradition continues today with newfound directions, all informed by our past. The evolution is always returning to the original source of tradition and the teachings of Spider Woman, as well as the earlier weavers who lived these lives of survival and assimilation. The Navajo weaver often rubs a spider’s web into her hands to bless herself before beginning a weaving. A child also received the blessing of the web so that one day she may grow to be a fine weaver as well, a blanket woven by a child of Spiderwoman for a child. – Tony Abeyta, excerpt from Art of Timeless Beauty, the Navajo Child’s Blanket exhibition catalog.

EXHIBIT HOURS:
August 9 (6 – 9pm)
August 10-11 (10am – 5pm)
August 12 (10am – 3pm)
Entrance included with show admission


View catalog


SPECIAL EXHIBITION
Miniature Native American Baskets – A Lifetime Collection
Curated by Jan Duggan

Jan Duggan’s love for Pima basketry started early in her life and more than 40 years ago she began collecting some of the more remarkable examples of their art. Now her collection has evolved into one of the world’s most remarkable assemblage of Pima weaving, and her collection will be prominently featured at the upcoming Whitehawk show this August in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“In their own language, the Pima Indians referred to themselves as the Akimel O’odham, which means ‘the river people,” Duggan says. She describes how young Pima women (baskets were the tribe’s exclusive realm of the women) began learning their skills by collecting willow from the riverbanks. Then the real work began in stripping them down to a size that could be woven into any number of items, hats, baskets, purses and more. The Pima would sometimes punch holes in tin cans and run the willow through them to strip them down to size.

 

“I have baskets that are as delicate as 16 stitches to the inch,” she says. “It’s almost like a tapestry.” The Pima weaving can feature the pictorial forms of human beings or animals like butterflies, snakes and Gila monsters. In addition to willow, which lended a signature, light tan to a creation, weavers used materials like devils claw (darker), cattails and red yucca. Some Pima weavers even used ‘negative’ designs where the typically lighter elements are reversed to be dark and vice versa. Beads were sometimes sewn along the rim or even incorporated into the body of the basket. “I’ve always loved their baskets because the designs were so creative,” Duggan says.

Though there are modern weavers keeping the art form alive, Pima weaving declined after the 1930s. Nevertheless, a number of weavers still stand out, some from more than a hundred years ago. “The work of women like Suzie White, Linda Hendricks and Nellie Preston are really remarkable,” Ms Duggan points out. Some of the best historical source material on Pima weavers and their art comes from J.F. Breazeale’s book ‘The Pima and His Baskets,’ published in 1923, and ‘Basket Weavers of the Pima,’ released by Bert Robinson in 1954.

After a lifelong love affair with Pima basketry, Duggan’s collection is widely acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive in the world. Following her curation of this one-of-a-kind exhibition of Akimel O’odham weaving during the Whitehawk show, she plans to donate much of it to a major museum.

“I want some of this work to end up in Arizona because that’s where they were woven,” she says. “But I want my collection to be out there for the world to see because this work of the Pima is just too beautiful to overlook.”

EXHIBIT HOURS:
August 9 (6 – 9pm)
August 10-11 (10am – 5pm)
August 12 (10am – 3pm)
Entrance included with show admission


Previous Events

Click here to view 2023 Special Exhibition