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[Santa Fe] Will Santa Fe adopt Authenticity and the production of quality in Native Arts?

12-07-30 14:17
SANTA FE—July 13, 2012—SWAIA and Collected Works Bookstore announce two provocative conversations to be held July 19 and August 2 on the topics of authenticity and the production of quality in Native arts.
Materials and techniques for centuries have been held up as the standard bearers of determining what is and what is not "Indian." But often imposed from the non-Native world, these prescriptive lists can be stultifying to artists.  Materials and techniques can serve as important cultural markers and uphold cultural values and principles, such as in Pueblo pottery making.
The July 19 panel will focus primarily on quality in pottery and jewelry with a panel of potters and jewelers who will discuss their own experiences with techniques and materials and how they relate the integrity of their work as community base, as well as how proscribed materials might be liberating.  Each of these artists’ work is made exponentially more complicated and time-consuming by following cultural behaviors, yet when others mass produce faux works overseas, or there is dishonesty in the marketplace, an individual artist's work is fit into the pantheon of what is and what is not native. The marketplace has also accelerated the use of certain pottery slips and precious stones like turquoise, resulting in a loss of production due to the scarcity of some materials. 
On August 2, artists, experts, and stakeholders in the year-round Santa Fe art market will discuss topics of concern in upholding standards in art making, as well as integrity in the sale of Native art in shops.  There is little doubt in an art making community like Santa Fe that there is a plethora of beautiful things –many handmade and genuine. But some copies and knock-offs, both deliberate and unintentional, provide ready sources of income to satiate tourists and decorators. 
But what are the consequences of allowing the dollar to take the lead in the production of Native art and Indian-style souvenir in Santa Fe?  Is the groundwork now laid for eventual collapse?  How do artists and non-profits serve to protect heritage, and what is the city of Santa Fe's culpability and role? 
The panels, to be moderated by Dr. Bruce Bernstein, Executive Director of SWAIA, are part of SWAIA’s investigation into quality and its commitment to upholding standards of excellence as the preeminent authority in Native art.
All panels begin at 6 pm and are free and open to the public.
Visit santafeindianmarket.com for more information.
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