Remarkable artistry and centuries of cultural tradition characterize “A Spotlight on Contemporary Hopi Ceramicists and Katsina Doll Carvers,” which opened February 13, 2018 and is on exhibit through November 25, 2018 at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, Arizona.
The exhibition showcases award-winning and renowned Hopi artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including 28 ceramicists and nine katsina doll carvers. The artworks in the exhibition are on loan from a private collection and are on public display for the first time. The artwork reflects how contemporary artists continue to push the boundaries of their work, while also staying true to time-honored methods.
“A Spotlight on Contemporary Hopi Ceramicists and Katsina Doll Carvers” complements the museum’s ongoing exhibition, “Canvas of Clay: Hopi Pottery Masterworks from The Allan and Judith Cooke Collection,” which features ceramics spanning six centuries.
The creation of ceramics and katsina dolls is a revered family tradition among the Hopi people whose tribal land lies in northern Arizona. Artists often learn the required techniques and artistry from grandparents, parents, or aunts and uncles.
“A Spotlight on Contemporary Hopi Ceramicists and Katsina Doll Carvers” was co-curated by Byron Hunter, advocate and longtime supporter of the Native American arts community, and Rachel Pool, associate curator, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. The exhibition is sponsored by Charles F., Jennifer E., and John U. Sands. The exhibition, which is located in the Ellie and Mike Ziegler Heritage Hall Gallery, is included with museum admission.
Hopi ceramic artwork is distinguished by the paint colors and design composition. Each Hopi potter develops his or her own style, incorporating cultural traditions and their own spiritual connection with the world around them.
Stetson Setalla, who is featured in the exhibition, explained his creative process: “As I work on my pots, I clear my mind of all bad thoughts by concentrating and praying to my clay. Good thoughts and a good heart are essential in working with your clay because you are creating yourself in each pot as you coil and when you are ready to paint the pot, a clear mind and good heart is crucial in assisting you with your painting because the designs flow through your mind into your hand and onto your pot without difficulty.”
Katsina dolls are sculpted and painted cottonwood root carvings that are representations of Hopi supernatural beings who bless the land with moisture, and appear in ceremonies at the Hopi Mesas six months of the year.
Katsina dolls were traditionally carved by men and given to young girls and women to teach them about the immortal beings that bring rain, manage other dimensions of the natural world and society, and act as messengers between humans and the spirit world, thus passing on the knowledge of individual katsinam and preserving the Hopi way of life. Today katsina dolls have various functions among the Hopi ranging from traditional use to those created for sale to non-Hopi people. They are coveted by collectors from around the world for their artistic quality, creativity and the stories they tell.
Featured in the exhibition is internationally recognized katsina doll carver Neil David, Sr., who has been designated as an Arizona Indian Living Treasure for his lifetime achievements. His carving of the Koshare clown is exhibited in three diverse examples. A Koshare clown’s role is to amuse the audience during the katsina dances while the dancers are resting. Due to their whimsical and humorous actions, clown carving became popularized in the second half of the twentieth century.
Karen Abeita (Hopi/Tewa/Isleta, b. 1960)
Sadie “Flower Woman” Adams (Hopi/Tewa, 1905-1995)
Preston Duwyenie (Hopi, b. 1951)
Rondina Huma (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1947)
Gloria Kahe (Diné, b. 1951)
Jacob Koopee, Jr. (Hopi/Tewa, 1970-2011)
Emogene Lomakema (Hopi, 1901-1999)
Steve Lucas (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1955)
Gloria Mahle (Hopi/Tewa, active since 1980)
Garrett Maho (Hopi, b. 1976)
Helen “Feather Woman” Naha (Hopi/Tewa, 1922-1993)
Nona Naha (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1958)
Rainy Naha (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1949)
Sylvia Naha (Hopi/Tewa, 1951-1999)
Les Namingha (Hopi/Zuni, b. 1967)
Lawrence Namoki (Hopi, b. 1949)
Dextra Quotskuyva Nampeyo (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1928)
Iris Youvella Nampeyo (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1944)
Thomas Polacca Nampeyo (Hopi/Tewa, 1935-2003)
Tonita Hamilton Nampeyo (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1934)
Dawn Navasie (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1961)
Dolly Joe “White Swann” Navasie (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1964)
Joy “Frog Woman” Navasie (Hopi/Tewa, 1919-2012)
Garnet “Flower Girl” Pavatea (Hopi/Tewa, 1915-1981)
Alfred “Al” Qöyawayma (Hopi, b. 1938)
Ida Sahmie (Diné, b. 1960)
Stetson Setalla (Hopi, b. 1962)
Mark Tahbo (Hopi/Tewa, 1958-2017)
Katsina Doll Carvers
Elmer Adams (Hopi, life dates unknown)
Kerry David (Hopi, active since c. 1980)
Neil David, Sr. (Hopi/Tewa, b. 1944)
Gerald Dukepoo (Hopi, life dates unknown)
Aaron Fredericks (Hopi, life dates unknown)
Arthur Holmes, Jr. (Hopi, b. circa 1970)
Ronald Honyouti (Hopi, b. 1955)
Stetson Honyumptewa (Hopi, b. 1959)
Dennis Tewa (Hopi, birth date unknown, d. 2013)
About the Museum
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is located at 3830 N. Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona. It is owned by the City of Scottsdale and managed by Scottsdale Museum of the West, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies upon private support to fund the museum’s operation.
The museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2015, and was named the 2018 Reader’s Choice “Best Western Museum” in the nation by True West magazine. One of TripAdvisor’s most highly rated things to do in Scottsdale, the museum was awarded the 2017 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. For more information about the museum, visit scottsdalemuseumwest.org or call 480-686-9539.
Alper Bronze John Coleman Collection
Cooke Hopi Pottery Collection
Hays Legendary Cowboy Collection
Peterson Early and Contemporary Western Art Collection
Strickland Golden West Poster Collection
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
3830 N. Marshall Way
About Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West celebrates the art, history, and unique stories of the 19 states of the American West. It features hundreds of historical and contemporary paintings and sculptures by a wide range of artists, plus ongoing exhibitions of authentic Old West artifacts. The museum opened in January 2015 in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
P: 480-686-9539 ext. 219