This article demonstrates, through an analysis of the work of Hopi-Tewa artist Dan Namingha, that the discourse on contemporary American Indian art has moved beyond issues of 'assimilation'. Whereas consideration of modern American Indian art has been limited to the 'two-world' motif, in which indigenous artists had to make a choice between being 'traditional' or 'progressive', the paradigm today, it is argued, consists in 'recovering' and 'revitalizing' of indigenous values and beliefs. What results is the appropriation by indigenous artists of a sovereign space within the 'art world' for non-Western sources of culture. Namingha's Hopi-Tewa images are all drawn from the Hopi villages, Polacca and Hano, on First Mesa, in which he grew up. The essay elucidates that Namingha, through his art, accomplishes the extension of the Hopivotskwani, which is the Hopi 'way of doing things', into the world of modern art, thereby making a claim for the continued relevance of an otherwise ancient tradition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts