Pablita Velarde exhibition

Ms Velarde’s work, like Ms Martinez’
https://theelderlies.wordpress.com/2006/09/18/american-indian-linguist/ remained controversial even late into their lives for many people [a sign of living tradition].

David Collins | For The New Mexican, February 19, 2007

A yearlong exhibition that opened Sunday at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture memorializes Santa Clara Pueblo artist Pablita Velarde the way she wanted to be remembered.

“I want the Earth to remember me through my works,” Velarde says in a DVD presentation that offers museum guests a posthumous first-person explanation of her work.

A collection of 58 paintings from the 84 works that Bandelier National Monument officials commissioned Velarde to produce between 1939 and 1945 went on display on Museum Hill. The collection is recognized as a premiere documentation of Pueblo life at that time. …

“It was because of the WPA that many artistic traditions survive today,” museum director Shelby Tisdale said.

Born in 1918 at Santa Clara as Tse Tsan, or “Golden Dawn,” Velarde’s father sent her to St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe when she was 5. In the eighth grade, she transferred to Santa Fe Indian School. There, she studied with Dunn, who was renowned for training a generation of American Indians for careers in art.

At the Cerrillos Road school, Velarde’s art developed in a direction that defied tradition, even as she documented and interpreted the traditions she learned from elders. …

Velarde’s work for Bandelier includes traditional motifs but relies on illustration styles and materials typical of the era. Later in her life, Velarde experimented with natural media until she perfected her own rendition of media used in ancient petroglyphs. Velarde called them earth pigments.

By her own account, Velarde battled a stigma as a woman working in a medium traditionally reserved for men until 1953, when she became the first woman to receive the prestigious Grand Purchase Award from the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla.

Tisdale said the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture started negotiating an exhibit of Velarde’s work for the Bandelier monument a few months before her death Jan. 10, 2006, at age 87.


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  1. 1 india » Blog Archive » Efforts afoot to re-energize Indian arts incubators Trackback on 2007 May 19 at 2:34 pm
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