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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Shaking Up Tradition:
Indian Market Judges Award Best Of Show To Two Artists
by Robert Nott - The Sante Fe New Mexican
credits: photos by Luis Sanchez Saturno - The New Mexican
The need to preserve and honor tradition was a recurring theme in acceptance speeches Friday by winners of the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market judging.

All the same, at least two traditions were fractured when, for the first time, two artists tied for Best of Show, and one of them won in a newly created classification: film.

Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo) won not only the top prize in the new Moving Images category for his narrative short Shimásáni but took a Best of Show honor. Stetson Honyumptewa (Hopi) shared the Best of Show title while taking the top honor in the classification for Wooden Pueblo Figurative Carving and Sculpture.

The winners were announced during the Best of Show Ceremony and Luncheon at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Friday morning. Bruce Bernstein, Executive Director of the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts (SWAIA), which hosts the market, emceed the event, which drew more than 200 people.

Winners in 11 different classifications had been notified on Thursday evening that they would be getting a ribbon Friday, Bernstein said, which meant that most of them didn't sleep well that night as they waited to see what they had won.

Several of the winners spoke of Indian Market's influence in providing much-needed support for traditional art forms. Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings (Pima/Kiowa), who won in the Bead Work & Quill Work classification, spoke of the cultural heritage that has flowed through her family line.

"I do my grandmother's work," she said. "I do my great-grandmother's work. This is what they used to do. They are the ones who should be honored."

Indian Market Classification Winners

Classification I: Jewelry Daniel Sunshine Reeves
Classification II: Pottery Robert Patricio
Classification III: Paintings, Drawings, Graphics & Photography Eve-Lauryn LaFountain
Classification IV: Wooden Pueblo Figurative Carvings and Sculpture Stetson Honyumptewa
Classification V: Sculpture Jason Quigno Classification VI: Textiles Patricia Michaels
Classification VII: Diverse Art Forms Charlene Holy Bear
Classification VIII: Bead Work & Quill Work Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings
Classification IX: Youth (17 years and under) Trent Lee
Classification X: Moving Images (judged in July) Blackhorse Lowe, for “Shim Àsànì”
Classification XI: Basketry Dolores Garza

Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo), who won in the Textiles classification, garnered a laugh when she recounted how many visitors to her Indian Market booth ask her, "What's Indian about your stuff?"

Her typical response: "I am."

Other Best of Classification winners were Daniel Sunshine Reeves (Navajo, Diné) for jewelry; Robert Patricio (Acoma Pueblo) for pottery; Eve-Lauryn LaFountain (Chippewa) for paintings, drawings, graphics & photography (specifically for photography — another first in Indian Market, according to Bernstein); Jason Quigno (Saginaw Chippewa) for sculpture; Charlene Holy Bear (Standing Rock Sioux) for diverse art forms; Trent Lee (Navajo) for Youth (17 years and under); Dolores Garza (Haida) for basketry.

John Torres-Nez, director of artist services for SWAIA, confirmed that this year's two Best of Show prizes was a first, and that it could conceivably happen again. He said no matter how often the 60 judges debated over the top prize, the result was always a tie.

"So we had a discussion," he said, "and someone asked, 'Is there any reason we can't award two prizes?'"

After the ceremony, Lowe said the fact that Indian Market added film artists to its classifications "displays a progress toward more media-savvy storytellers. It's good that they are considering this (film) as an art form.

His short is based on a story his grandmother told him about her desire to attend English-language boarding school in hopes it would give her entry into a broader world.

Indian Market, which started in 1922, continues through the weekend on and around the Plaza downtown. SWAIA is estimating that some 80,000 people will visit the event.

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