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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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Hopi Show in Flagstaff marks 71st year


by Rosanda Suetopka Thayer - Special to the Navajo-Hopi Observer


FLAGSTAFF — The Museum of Northern Arizona, in existence since 1928, held its 71st annual Hopi Show celebrating Hopi art July 2-4.

DancersThis year yielded the best of Hopi jewelry, pottery, textiles, fiber art, Tihu carving and multi-media work from more than 50 Hopi participants at the Flagstaff show. In addition, Verma Nequatewa-Sonwai of Hotevilla Village (Badger Clan) was the featured Master Artist this year, selected by Bob Lomadafki, Hopi Show-Heritage Series coordinator and the current MNA Board of Trustees. Nequatewa showcased what she creates in her Third Mesa studio for her private collectors and museum institutions from around the world.

Nequatewa is a world class jeweler who works primarily in 18 karat gold with precious stones from foreign countries as well as diamonds, colored pearls and fossilized ivory.

Nequatewa has been recognized for her work for the past 30 years, including time she spent interning under her world-renowned uncle, the late Charles Loloma. Since her uncle's passing in 1991, Nequatewa has brought her own special look and feminine qualities to her jewelry line.

Some of her more prominent pieces are commissioned works of art such as the bracelet Arizona supermarket chain mogul Eddie Basha recently requested as a gift for his wife, Nadine.

Nequatewa has also been commissioned for historical pieces of jewelry such as the recent Arizona Foundation for Women pins, that were to be given to the likes of Elizabeth Dole, Tipper Gore and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. These pins were gold made with precious stones in a softly outlined female-shaped form. Nequatewa said that she was honored to make these pins with these special women in mind, who would be the final wearers of her work. When asked what is her favorite piece of jewelry to work on, Nequatewa said immediately, "Bracelets. A bracelet is much like a little mini-sculpture and the sky is the limit on how high or thick you can go. It's a lot of fun to design."

Verma Nequatewa-SonwaiFun. And profitable.
Some of Nequatewa's pieces are priced in the thousands, and the more detailed ones can take several weeks to complete. They are that detailed and finely created. It is a pure pleasure to try one on and know how much work has gone into it.

Nequatewa's husband, Dr. Robert Rhodes, who has also served as her personal business manager over the past 30 years, has deep admiration and respect for his wife's work.

Together, they are a formidable team.

Over the years, Nequatewa's husband has designed some jewelry for special family friends on his own, but he laughingly calls his line of work, "Someway" jewelry, not Sonwai.

Top winners
This year's Hopi Show also featured two top winners, Gerald Honwytewa, who was named as Best of Show artist, and Roy Talahaftewa, Master Artist 2004.

Honwytewa, won Best of Show for his stunning silver and exotic stone lapidary piece titled "Shalako Bolo."

Gerald HonwytewaHonwytewa, from the village of Shungopavi (Bear Clan), was originally influenced by his father and uncles in the traditional Hopi overlay style. But it's been really around 10 years that he has taken his role as an artist seriously and pursued formal classes in tufa casting and design. Honwytewa also took the time to research metal braiding techniques and has now mastered the specialized art of braiding pure silver into lariat neck ropes for his bolo tie creations. He also makes pure braided silver bracelets that have pure silver end caps with a Hopi overlay design clasp.

While these silver braided bracelets have a traditional Hopi overlay influence, they are decidedly "original Honwytewa" and have a very distinctive look of their own.

Master Artist
Roy Talahaftewa, from the Village of Shungopavi (Water Clan), walked away with this year's prestigious title of "Master Artist 2004."

In receiving this title, Talahaftewa will now be recognized by native artists as the top in his class in both areas of technique and original design, becoming a walking example of "artistic perfection in motion."

Talahaftewa, a self-taught artist also has a deep seated commitment to assisting other artists.

So he has in the past four years also developed a sister program to his own artwork called "So'oh's Tunatya" (Grandmother's Dream"), a focused workshop classroom series, which features native artists working in a weeklong program to give hands-on technical assistance in the areas of jewelry production.

To his credit, Talahaftewa has partnered with the MNA every spring, holding a May fund-raiser luncheon to benefit these art technique classes. Talahaftewa, who resides at Second Mesa, can be contacted through the Hopi Tutuveni for additional information on his organization.

Talahaftewa's Hopi Show Master Artist winning entry was a heavy gauge silver concho belt.

The animals on each individual conchos are very special to him.

"All of these animals on my belt are the Creator's living gift to us and it was a way to honor them because they are in all of our ceremonies and prayers," he said.

Although the winning entry was in the format of traditional Hopi overlay style, Talahaftewa said he likes to work with gold and exotic stones in a lapidary setting.

His pins and pendants are highly sought after art commodities and have been featured in several art magazines in the past five years.

New directions
The MNA, directed by Robert Bruenig for just over a year, has added a strong native artist-coordinator member to its team this past year in hiring Lomadafki, a member of the Hopi Tribe, from the Village of Hotevilla to assist in revamping the Heritage Program.

Between Lomadafki and Bruenig, MNA has taken on a new direction for building partnerships over the past few months.

The weekend sold out event was direct evidence of their hard work and collaborative efforts towards making MNA a true place of community, art appreciation and cultural bonding.

2004 Hopi Marketplace Winners

Best of Show

Gerald Honwytewa, Shalako Bolo

Master Artist

Roy Talahaftewa-Silver Overlay Concho Belt

Senior Artists

Fiber Arts, First Place, Elsie Suetopka, Basket;
First Place, Elsie Suetopka, Textile;
Jewelry, First Place, Lawrence Saufkie-Shalako Bolo

Katsina Dolls

First Place, Eli Taylor

Youth Artists

First Place, Jewelry, Cheston Dalangyawma;
First Place, Fine Arts, Simana Tenakhongva

Fiber Arts

First Place, Sharon Lomakema, Shalako;
Second Place, Sarah Gashwytewa, Whirlwind;
Third Place, Leona Pooyouma, Cloud


First Place, Marvin Pooyouma, Women's belt;
Second Place, Marvin Pooyouma, Double Design Belt;
Third Place, Ramona Poleyma, "Comet," Wall Hanging


Best of Division, Gerald Honwytewa

Fine Arts

First Place, Anthony Honahnie, "Hopi Longhair with White Corn Maiden"


First Place, Howard Sice, Sterling Bowl with Kachina


Rainy Naha, Bowl, "Embracing Hawks"

Flagstaff, AZ Map

Maps by Travel

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