Pretty much anyone who’s anyone in the Indian art world was in Santa Fe this weekend for the 90th Indian Market, the largest Native American arts festival in the world. Pickup trucks filled with jewelry, sculpture, and pots wrapped in blankets covered with plastic streamed into town from the rez. Big-deal artists like Darren Vigil Gray and Michael Horse held gallery shows, while other prominent painters, sculptors, and jewelers like Mateo Romero, Presley LaFountain, and former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell could be found in the thick of the Indian Market throngs among more than 1,000 booths surrounding the Plaza.
Heavy thunderstorms let loose, prompting power outages and in a single weekend doubling Santa Fe’s rainfall for the year to date. My Anglo friends said, “What a shame, everyone’s getting wet,” but my Indian friends marveled, “It’s a blessing,” and, “I came here from the Texas drought and this is great.” Driving home late Friday night in the rain, I got capsized by a flash flood when an impromptu foot-deep river thick with tree branches crashed across Rodeo Road creating a makeshift arroyo. I lost control of my SUV, but luckily regained it. The next morning the car was coated with mud, even on top.
Campbell and LaFountain
Favorite things? Ledger art paintings by California’s Horse, beadwork by Oklahoma’s Les Berryhill and Choctaw artist Elena Pate, and jewelry by the Navajo and Zuni artists. Best conversations? Laughing with painter/jeweler/actor Horse (http://www.michaelhorse.com/) over the casting director who recently told Horse he should play three decades older than he is in a film, and then how that movie shut down, and a more serious moment with jeweler Coreen Cordova (http://www.coreencordova.com/) commenting, “Whether you believe you can do something or you can’t, you’ll be right.”
Above: My mustang Ryo in Tesuque, NM. Our barn owner in Malibu described him as Ghandi-esque because Ryo didn't fight for the best feed bin like the other horses. When Ryo died in Tesuque, I turned on my car radio to hear John Lennon singing "Imagine"... that was Ryo "living life in peace."
PHOTOS BY WOLF SCHNEIDER