Exhibit of Hopi Arts to Open in February

Hopi pot

Hopi pot by Helen Naha

The Lam Museum is excited to present Living Arts of the Hopi, a new exhibit on view from February 15 to December 9. The Hopi Tribe of northeastern Arizona have artistic traditions that are hundreds of years old.  The objects featured in this exhibit show the variety of arts that have been, and are still, created in the villages and mesas of the Hopi.  The exhibit explores how these arts have changed over time and continue to evolve.

The Hopi have a long history in the arts of weaving, pottery-making, basket-making, kachina carving, and silversmithing. The exhibit will highlight each of these artforms through objects from our own collection as well as loans from a local private collector. Although the themes and ideas are similar within each artform, there is great diversity in styles, materials, and techniques among the artists and villages. Each artform was and still is influenced by the traditions and beliefs of the past.  Hopi artist are very concerned with keeping the traditional arts alive, but they are also reimaging them for today.

Clown Kachina

Clown kachina by Walter Howato

Among the many important pieces featured in the exhibit are the two shown here.  The pot was made by Helen Naha (1922-1993).  Her hallmark is a feather, so she is also known as Feather Woman.  The stark black-on-white design is typical of her early work.  The clown kachina was carved by Walter Howato (1921-2003).  Kachina figures are physical representations of Hopi spirits.  In this case, clown kachinas are loud and boisterous and play tricks.  They are meant to remind people of acceptable standards of behavior within the Hopi community.  Howato’s kachinas were not made as ceremonial objects, but rather for the tourist art market.

This exhibit would not have been possible without a generous loan from Frank Warfield. His loan includes jewelry and kachinas collected in the late 1970s by his parents Mr. and Mrs. Walt Martin, as well as pottery collected between 2000 and 2010 by Mr. Warfield and Donald Morrow.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Museum will present a Kachina Figure Workshop on Saturday, February 26 from 10:00am to 12:00pm.  Workshop participants will learn how the Hopi continue to honor the kachina spirits with figures, dances, and ceremonies. Using a wooden artist figure, paints, fabrics, feathers, and other embellishments participants will make their own kachina figure. This workshop is open to all ages.  The fee is $20 ($15 for Lam Museum members) per figure. Advanced registration is required via this link: https://cvent.me/AgVKmO.

We are planning additional Hopi programming for the fall semester.