September 1, 2010
The Central Fire, A Native American Art Show
Sculpture by Tom Huff — Photo by Sue Orrell
This exhibition is a broad survey of the contemporary fine arts by Haudenosaunee artists and others from Native North America. Many of these works are from my private collection of works collected in New York state and from the artists who participate in the annual Indian Market and Native American Art Show in Santa Fe, N.M. This is the largest art show of its kind and draws art appreciators from around the world who value Native arts.
I am a sculptor of stone and work in 3-D arts. Stone is ancient and one of the original elements of Creation. We believe that a living spirit exists in all natural things. Therefore stone is alive and communicates its living essence. My work is labeled contemporary, yet what we experience is ancient as the Tradition is the Lifeblood of the Contemporary. This is the same spirit that moves other Native artists, no matter which medium inspires them to communicate spirit in their art making.
The traditional arts of Native North America are inspired by spirit in the same way. These arts include all language arts oral and written, music making, dancing, the making of Regalia or the “outfits” of POW WOW and ceremony that express national identity, culinary arts and medicine, the art of private ceremony and ritual, games and sports. Many contemporary Native artists today work in film, multi-media and stage. Visual arts are also expressed in mediums such as ironworking, auto body work, earthworks, installation art and much more.
Like other modern artists, today’s Native artists work in a contemporary world that includes both reservation and non-reservation American Indian communities. We have found ourselves in a post-colonial world that necessitates increased individualism caused by the fractured history of influences. We have chosen to express ourselves as individuals within the enduring contexts of our community identities as members of our particular tribes and Nations. In my lifetime, I have discovered many Americas on this Turtle Island. The world has become too big to ignore. The Haudenosaunee have reached out beyond our traditional lands to speak internationally and universally about the Iroquois worldview. In sharing this worldview and interacting with other peoples, I learn more about and strengthen my own.
- Tom Huff (Seneca-Cayuga) -