Every year, Native Treasures designates an artist as the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s Living Treasure. This year, we are pleased to designate prolific Hopi/Tewa artist Dan Namingha as the 2016 Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s Living Treasure.
The MIAC Living Treasure award is given in recognition of artistic excellence and community service. The award recognizes their bodies of work to date and their exciting futures.
Dan has created a significant and widely collected body of work created during a career spanning more than 40 years. His work is in the collections of numerous museums including: the British Royal Collection, London; the Denver Art Museum; The Heard Museum; the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts; and numerous United States Embassies including those in Copenhagen, Denmark, Geneva, Switzerland, and Dakar, Senegal, to name a few.
The Native Treasures planning committee chose “Mother Earth” for the theme of this year’s festival. The earth is often times depicted as a turtle in Native American mythology and art. The turtle signifies water, good health and long life, among other things.
“In the Hopi creation myth, and most Native American creation myths, we are allowed to be here on this earth but only provided we care for it and treat it with respect,” Namingha said of the state of land and water and our planet, adding that we have a critical role of stewardship of our the earth.
Dan feels that change and evolution are a continuum, and that the future of our planet and membership of the human race must be monitored to insure survival in the spirit of cultural and technology diversity. He says that only then can we merge the positive and negative polarization and create the balance so necessary to the communal spirit of the universe.
Dan is the great-great grandson of famed Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo (1856-1942), who is considered one of the finest Hopi potters. She inspired dozens of family members over several generations to make pottery and art, including daughters Fannie Nampeyo and Annie Healing. A 2014 exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona, “Nampeyo: Namingha —Tradition & Transition,” presented the works of four generations of artists descended from Nampeyo, including Namingha and Namingha’s sons Arlo and Michael who are both artists as well. They all show their work at their family-owned gallery Niman Fine Art in Santa Fe.
MIAC will feature an exhibition of his work “Landscape of an Artist: Living Treasure Dan Namingha” which will open to the public on Sunday, March 20, 2016. The exhibition will also include Dan’s work from the MIAC collection as well as loans from other institutions.
The honoring ceremony for Dan Namingha will take place at the Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival Pre-Show Celebration on Friday, May 27, from 5:30-7:30 pm, at the Convention Center.
Each year, the award for the Living Treasure artist is an original piece of art made and presented by the previous year’s Living Treasure honoree. Last year’s award recipient were sisters Teri Greeves and Keri Ataumbi. Also that evening is a special sale of art created around the theme “Mother Earth.” Hors d’oeuvres, wine and champagne will be served. Tickets for the Friday party are $125 and are also available as part of Native Treasures sponsorships.