FLAGSTAFF-The common threads throughout all cultures are the language, lifeways and art forms. The 74th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture in Flagstaff will immerse visitors in Hopi language and artistry, revealing the very essence of today's Hopi people and the ideas that pervade their daily lives. This year's festival is on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA).
Robert Breunig, MNA director stated, "The Hopi Festival is a perfect time to experience many fine art, film, music and dance creations of the Hopi people. This summer is especially exciting at the museum, with the Hopi Festival and "Elemental Forms," an exhibition of the work of Dan and Arlo Namingha. We're very appreciative of the continuing partnership the museum has with the Hopi Tribe, as each year's festival is more rewarding than the last."
"Beyond the fun and excitement of the Hopi Festival, it is the magical moments of connection that we strive to create-moments of surprise or delight between the visitor and the entertainer, or the artist, or the educator," added Anne Doyle, MNA's Heritage Program Coordinator.
This year's festival highlights the talents of independent filmmaker and photographer Victor Masayesva Jr., and the work of internationally-acclaimed contemporary painter Dan Namingha and his sculptor son Arlo. Artistic creations by new and seasoned artists have been juried for this festival, including poster artist Delbridge Honanie and award-winning potter Jacob Koopee.
In addition to the more than 50 anticipated booth artists, the Museum staff has collected one-of-a-kind consigned works from individual artists across the Hopi reservation for sale. Hopi buffalo dancers, traditional songs, Hopi reggae, and a variety of Native foods will add to the excitement.
Victor Masayesva Jr., an extraordinary visual cosmography
Victor Masayesva Jr. is an advocate for the Indigenous voice within the international art community. His documentary and experimental films and photographic images zoom in on commercialization, appropriation, exploitation, and repatriation of Native culture. Masayesva was raised in the Hopi village of Hotevilla and studied at the Horace Mann School in New York, Princeton University, and the University of Arizona. He has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. His feature-length film "Imagining Indians" acquired a worldwide audience.
Masayesva will screen a 60-minute director's cut of his newest 2007 film, "Paatuwaqatsi: Water, Land and Life, Hopi Run to Mexico" on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
His film features the Hopi struggle for water rights, while engaging viewers in the cultural and religious importance of water as life. The film follows 26 runners from the Hopi villages that ran a pilgrimage from northern Arizona to Mexico City on 2,000 miles of dirt roads and highways. They carried a gourd of water gathered from international waters to convey that water is life and they ran to affirm their ties to the south, where specific Hopi clans emerged thousands of years ago. Masayesva will introduce his work and recount stories of historical water wars of this region, forced migration, and how the Hopi people learned how to communicate with the clouds. Following the film at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday and 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, Victor will give a reading and sign his new book of photography and essays, "Husk of Time," published by the University of Arizona Press for sale in the Museum's Bookstore.
Dan and Arlo Namingha, a highly refined modernist vocabulary
"Elemental Forms: The Art of Dan and Arlo Namingha," MNA's exhibit of Indigenous modernism, will be highlighted with docent interpretive tours scheduled throughout the weekend, from 9-10 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. both days. The work of both artists alludes to Hopi cosmology and symbology, affirming and extending their Hopi/Tewa identity, while breaking with the traditional limits of Indian art through modern minimalism. Dan Namingha is a powerfully gifted and internationally-acclaimed contemporary painter and sculptor, and his son Arlo's sculptures minimalize literal images and investigates the boundaries of the non-objective.
The buffalo dance, a gift from the Creator
This is the first time the Nuvatukya'ovi Sinom Dance Group will perform their buffalo dance at the Hopi Festival. It is usually performed during the winter and this dance encourages snow, good hunting, abundance of wildlife, and survival. A gift from the Creator, the buffalo dance is performed today on the Hopi Mesas as both entertainment and a reminder that buffalo, antelope, and deer used to roam in northern Arizona. Nuvatukya'ovi means "the high up place with snow" and is the Hopi name for the San Francisco Peaks. Visitors will enjoy performances by one warrior, two buffalo, three buffalo girls, plus drummers and singers.
Returning to the Hopi Festival
Casper and the Mighty 602 Band will perform their Hopi reggae on both Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Casper Loma-da-wa's lyrics, filled with hope and power, tell stories of contemporary reservation life. Reggae, he says, "is music of a struggling people-that's what Jamaican music is. We, as Native people, have been struggling all these years." The band has opened for reggae greats such as the Wailers, Culture, and Burning Spear.
Visitors of all ages can sing along in English and Hopi with Ferrell Secakuku and Anita Poleahla. The program will include the couple's new Hopi children's CD, "Learning through Hopi Songs" and their new DVD music video, "Koona," projects completed in partnership with the Northern Arizona University Anthropology Department to preserve the Hopi language.
Children will again be able to make take-home crafts at Creative Corner. They will experience corn grinding using a mano and matate, make a paper plate rattle with Hopi symbols, and learn coil and pinch pot techniques along with the cultural significance of pottery making.
Clark Tenakhongva and Sydney Poolheco will perform traditional Hopi songs, while capturing elements of change in the Hopi culture through contemporary tunes and lyrics. Both Tenakhongva and Poolheco are featured on KUYI 88.1 Hopi Radio. They will perform together at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday.
The nuances of Hopi basketry will be revealed by Ruby Chimerica as she presents an ongoing demonstration on weaving cradleboards and rattles made from sumac and rabbitbush. Chimerica will also give a presentation on basket weaving. Potter Dorothy Ami will take visitors with her on a pottery making journey, discussing how she collects materials and builds, decorates, and fires her pieces. Ami creates pottery in the traditional Hopi way, from gathering the clay to using all natural pigments to paint her pots and sheep dung to fire her creations.
The 2007 Hopi Festival is sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, Flagstaff Cultural Partners/City of Flagstaff, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and La Quinta Inn.
The Museum of Northern Arizona is located three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180. Festival admission is $7 adult, $6 senior (65+), $5 student, $4 child (7-17), and free to MNA members. Become a member today in time to attend the Hopi Festival Members' Preview, Arts Award Ceremony, and Silent Auction on Friday evening before the festival. For more information, go to www.musnaz.org or call (928) 774-5213.