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Over 1,000 Artists to Participate in Santa Fe Indian Market Celebrating Female Strength & Resilience

New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) will be the guest of honor at The Gala, titled “Rise and Remember: Honoring the Resilience of Native Women,” held on Saturday, August 17. (Courtesy debforcongress.com)

For Indigenous arts entrepreneurs, the world-renowned Santa Fe Indian Market, hosted each August, is the nexus for promoting and selling their creations. More than 1,000 artists from more than 200 federally recognized Tribes participate in the art market, the biggest and most prestigious Indian art event in the world since 1922. 

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, the nonprofit producers of the Santa Fe Indian Market, is approaching its 98th annual event through a unique and relevant lens, honoring Native women. Three major components of Indian Market will promote the theme of female strength and resilience: the Native Cinema Showcase, IM: EDGE curated contemporary show, and the annual fundraising Gala.

The Gala, held on Saturday, August 17, will be titled “Rise and Remember: Honoring the Resilience of Native Women,” featuring guest of honor, New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo).

“This year we seek to honor our sisters who have passed, who have gone missing and/or were murdered and those who are with us fighting for better tomorrows,” says Elizabeth Kirk (Isleta Pueblo/Navajo), SWAIA Board Chair, “and at the same time, celebrating our up-and-coming generations.”

Attendees to the Gala will be encouraged to wear red, showing solidarity with missing and murdered Indigenous women. A series of 25 hand drums will be painted/decorated by female artists — including Ms. Haaland — and will be auctioned. SWAIA will share 25% of the proceeds with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women in Albuquerque. Among the 25 artists participating are Catherine Blackhorse (Blackfoot), Kathleen Wall (Jemez), and Shondinii Walters (Navajo). Special guest Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache), a violinist featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, will play during the reception.

The Gala will be held at Santa Fe’s Convention Center, moving from La Fonda Hotel where it has been held for years. The move will provide more space, and the opportunity for guests to visit IM: EDGE, a curated contemporary exhibit—also at the Convention Center. IM: EDGE, now in its fifth year, seeks to push the boundaries of Native art and explore new mediums, this year focusing on the female experience.

The 19th Native Cinema Showcase, presented in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian during Indian Market, has several female-centric films on the schedule, including “Warrior Women” and “Vai.”

Attendees of Market will be able to purchase special Strength Merchandise, featuring the work of emerging artist Tokeya Richardson (Oglala Lakota).

“[Women] are the authority of the household and the backbone of all the people. As a male dancer, when I come around and see our women (young and old) on the edge dancing, protecting us and standing watch while we dance — I see my grandmothers, my moms, my aunties, my wife, my sisters, my daughters, my nieces and my future generations — that gives me strength. ‘Swing and sway ladies! Swing and sway!'” – Tokeya Richardson

The 98th Santa Fe Indian Market will take place on August 17 and 18, 2019. A full schedule of Indian Market events can be found at santafeindianmarket.com.

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