Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This painting of a katchina night dance is by a young Hopi artist from Polacca, Emmett Navakuku. After a lot of focus on Yoruba culture, it is wonderful to contemplate the similarities and differences between the Yoruba orisas and the Hopi katchinas. The katchina dances of the Hopi, Zuni, and Pueblos of New Mexico are among the great treasures of human culture. Economically speaking these villages, now contained within "reservations", are poor, yet their art, as revealed in these dance performances, are aesthetically astounding events of incredible richness that fuse dance, music, storytelling, cosmology, ritual, jewelry and costume design in deeply moving performances that have survived for centuries. If you haven't attended one, I'd recommend making a space in your life to do it. Witnessing these dances gave me courage and inspiration for my work, and renewed the vision that drives it.
The presence of a flashlight in this painting is such a beautiful, and hopeful observation. It deepens the mystery ~ Emmett says "Hey I paint it as I see it. lol."