Diego Romero, “Chac Mool” (2001), earthenware, 5 x 10 1/2 inches (courtesy of Gerald Peters Contemporary)

In April, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) announced that this year’s Indian Market, the largest and most important Native arts market in the United States, would be postponed until 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SWAIA has announced that it will partner with the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists to produce a virtual market this summer.

For this series, we asked curators and members of the Native arts community to spotlight five artists whose work they were looking forward to seeing at the 2020 Indian Market, with the hope that this can play a small part in making up for some of the exposure lost from the postponement of this year’s market. Our goal is to highlight Native artists who have continued to make important work amid these trying times. You can find past spotlights here.

Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo) is a clay and bronze sculptor, gallerist, and Indigenous food activist. She selected five artists that she seeks out at Indian Market each year, because she looks forward to seeing what they’ve created.

Photo By Julien McRoberts, courtesy Roxanne Swentzell


Lonne Vigil, micaceous black jar with an organic opening, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches (courtesy Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery)

Lonnie Vigil (Nambé Pueblo): Lonnie is a truly great potter and an even more amazing human being. I believe that who you are as a person matters. As artists, we imbue some of ourselves into what we make. Lonnie’s pots are like good medicine.

Lorraine Gala-Lewis, “Rattlesnake Effigy” (2019), contemporary clay blend, hand coiled/slab, hand painted acrylic, natural pigments and stains, kiln fired, 35 x 3 x 15 inches (courtesy the artist)

Lorraine Gala-Lewis (Laguna/Taos/Hopi): Lorraine honors the old Mimbres pottery with her replicas. She loves what she does and I can’t get enough of her work.

Edna Romero, wedding vase, 13.5 x 11 inches (courtesy Toh-Atin Gallery)

Edna Romero (Santa Clara Pueblo): Edna’s pots are elegant. Her forms have a feel that remind me of landscapes of blowing sand and drifting clouds.  They give me a sense of peace and well-being.

Diego Romero, “Return to the Mothership” (2001), earthenware, 5 x 11 1/4 inches (courtesy of Gerald Peters Contemporary)

Diego Romero (Cochiti Pueblo): Diego’s pottery is a comic book dedicated to the workings inside Diego’s head.  It is a place of native pueblo history colliding with modern times. Well crafted and always interesting to me. I love Diego and his work.

Shonto Begay, “Spirit Protector” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches (courtesy Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson Arizona)

Shonto Begay (Navajo): Shonto’s painting are mesmerizing. His use of color and paint strokes are van Gogh-ish but steeped in his Native world. His Navajo life and scenery come alive on the canvas. I love love love his landscapes.

Ellie Duke was the Southwest US editor at Hyperallergic. She also co-edits the literary journal Contra Viento. She lives in Santa Fe, NM. Find her on Twitter.