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August a Whirlwind for IAIA with 25+ Events—From Live Music to Fashion

Sep 15, 2023

On Tuesday, August 15, 2023, IAIA’s market events kicked off with the Lensic 360’s Santa Fe Plaza Concert Series event, which IAIA supported as the presenting sponsor, featuring headliner Robert Mirabal (Taos Pueblo) and Rare Tribal Mob and opener the Levi Platero Band, comprised of Levi Platero (Navajo) and his fellow musicians. The evening also included multiple special guests as well as readings by IAIA MFA in Creative Writing students Andrew Blue Sky (Oneida Nation) ’24 and Santana Shorty (Navajo) ’24. Shorty read a series of poems, “The Last Child,” “Storm Tamer,” and “Intentions of a Desert,” while Blue Sky read a personal story. Representing a diverse slice of the Santa Fe community, nearly 1,500 people of all ages attended the concert, whether standing, dancing, or sitting in lawn chairs, on blankets, or on the grass. The Levi Platero Band treated attendees to energetic bluesy tunes, including some rock ‘n’ roll covers. Robert Mirabal (Taos Pueblo) and Rare Tribal Mob’s set was expansive and included not only bluesy rock and Mirabal’s iconic flute playing but also New Mexican and Pueblo history, blessing songs by his daughters Kona Sunrise and Masa Rain, powwow dancers, a hoop dancer, hand drumming, cultural explanations, and expressions of goodwill and unity. “Make the right choice for your children’s children’s children,” Mirabal urged. The audience enthusiastically participated in call-and-responses, including coyote howls and the chorus, “One sun, one moon, one earth, one people.”

On Wednesday, August 16, the 2023 IAIA Annual Benefit & Auction—Scholarships Shape Features raised over $760,000 to support IAIA student scholarships.

Thursday, August 17, marked the inaugural Get Indigenous Film Festival (GIFF) Screening, a partnership with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA). Viewers gathered at Violet Crown to watch Lakota Nation vs. The United States (2022), a must-see documentary directed by former IAIA student Jesse Short Bull (Oglala Lakota) and Laura Tomaselli and executive produced by Mark Ruffalo, with poetry contributions by IAIA Alum Layli Longsoldier (Oglala Lakota) ’09. Short Bull and the film have been profiled in VarietyLA TimesIndieWireVanity FairNY Times, the Hollywood ReporterABC News, National Board of Review, and the Motion Picture Association. GIFF also screened an episode of Spirit Rangers and the newest season openers of Reservation Dogs (S3E1) and Dark Winds (S2E1). Check out photos (see below) of attendees from the “purple carpet.”

Short Bull also shared words at the IAIA Annual Alumni Luncheon at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) on Friday, August 18, as did IAIA Alum Amber Morningstar Byars (Oklahoma Choctaw) ’18.

Heading Home—Where The Power Of The World Exists (2023), a triptych ledger work by Terran Last Gun (Piikani) ’16, was awarded the distinguished IAIA Alumni Award as well as First Place ribbon in the Ledger Drawing category at Santa Fe Indian Market, which was announced during the SWAIA Best of Show Ceremony on August 18.

Fans of powerhouse Jean LaMarr (Susanville Indian Rancheria), an internationally recognized artist, educator, and Native American advocate with ancestral ties to Pyramid Lake, Nevada, and Susanville, California, attended the member and public receptions for MoCNA’s latest exhibition, The Art of Jean LaMarr, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA). Encompassing multiple galleries, the exhibition features more than 60 artworks, including paintings, prints, and sculptures spanning from the 1970s to the present. The opening was also accompanied by sales show openings Ever Green and Forever Beautiful: Inside My Mind in the Museum Store, featuring work by Rebecca Lee Kunz (Cherokee Nation) and Jontay “Kahm” Kahmakoatayo (Plains Cree) ’23.

The following day, Jean LaMarr and Nevada Art Museum Associate Director and Chief Curator Ann Wolfe engaged in a panel discussion about LaMarr’s work. LaMarr shared numerous reflections and humorous comments about her artistic career, often eliciting laughs from the audience. Several attendees dressed in purple for both the opening and the panel in honor of LaMarr’s favorite color. If you missed the panel, be sure to watch the video from the event.

Over the weekend, numerous IAIA community sold work in the Museum Store and in the IAIA Student and Recent Graduate Art Market on the MoCNA Portal, and approximately 106 IAIA alumni participated in the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market.

On Saturday, August 19, the Get Indigenous Film Festival—Indigenous Film and Television Content Creation Panel Discussion, a collaboration between IAIA and SWAIA, brought together film industry professionals to MoCNA’s Allan Houser Art Park to discuss their professional trajectories and Native content creation, with guests treated to an extensive brunch spread by Bon Appetit Café. IAIA Cinematic Arts & Technology Department Chair James Lujan (Taos Pueblo) served as the moderator and presented questions to the panel, comprised of filmmaker Sterlin Harjo (Seminole and Muskogee Creek); actor Deanna Allison; writer, producer, and entrepreneur Sarah Eagleheart Chante (Oglala Lakota); actor Zahn McClarnon (Hunkpapa Lakota and Irish); and writer, director, and IAIA alum Charine Pilar Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo) ‘21. Notable guests were in the audience, including Allison’s parents, filmmaker Chris Eyre (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes), and others. Activist, writer, and actor Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota and Diné) happened to walk by the event with his family, which led to some good-natured heckling between Goldtooth and the panel.

Also on Saturday, Ehren Kee Natay (Kewa Pueblo and Diné) discussed his mural Three Sisters, currently on display in the Allan Houser Art Park.

Sunday, August 20, rounded out MoCNA’s events with The Stories We Carry Exhibition—Panel Discussion, which featured a conversation with guest curator and IAIA professor Brian Fleetwood (Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma) and MoCNA Curator of Collections Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer (Choctaw and Hopi) about the recent history of Indigenous jewelry and also contemporary Indigenous jewelry.

On Sunday, August 20, recent IAIA graduate Jontay “Kahm” Kahmakoatayo (Plains Cree) ’23 debuted in SWAIA’s 2023 Indigenous Fashion Show. Kahm received a major recognition through a subsequent Vogue profile, “Jontay Kahm, a Rising Plains Cree Designer, Is Reimagining Indigenous Design,” written by Christian Allaire (Nipissing First Nation), with photographs by Kalen Goodluck (Diné, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian). If you were unable to attend the fashion show, view photographs of Kahm’s work by Jason S. Ordaz, IAIA Director of Communications. Read our SWAIA Booth Directory article “A Portal to Indigenous Fashion” and scroll to the bottom of the page to see photos of Kahm’s Regalian Bodies collection on the runway. Former IAIA student Jamie Okuma (Luiseno, Shoshone-Bannock, Wailaki, and Okinawan), Orlando Dugi (Navajo Nation) Artist-in-Residence ’18, and IAIA Alum Lauren Good Day (Arikara, Hidatsa, Blackfeet, and Plains Cree) ’13 also showed their designs. Congratulations to Amber-Dawn Bear Robe (Siksika Nation), Art History Professor at IAIA, for producing an incredibly successful fashion show.

2023 SWAIA Indigenous Fashion Show—Jontay Kahm (Plains Cree) ’23

Get Indigenous Film Festival Screening

Photographs by Tira Howard.