La Junta Indian Drawing I - Mixed Media Art by Tony Abeyta
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Tony Abeyta
La Junta Indian Drawing I



Signed original Archival materials Custom framed Tony Abeyta is a Navajo contemporary artist working in mixed media paintings. From the artist... These mixed media drawings are part of a larger project which consists of 40 large scale drawings, these are but three. These portraits are inspired by a group of Non-native, or white performers, in La Junta, Colorado, otherwise known as: The Koshare Indian Dance Group, along with another group in northern Texas known as the Kwahadi dance group. Both groups have been actively engaged in intertribal, ceremonial, dance rituals like the buffalo dance, eagle dance, puebloan Koshare clown activities, as well as masked Katsina dances. This non-Native group, along with many others, have been active since the 1950's, birthed from the fraternal interests built around the boy scout tribal camps and fireside storytelling circles of their time. The La Junta tribe have even built a large scale kiva to host periodical night dance performances for public entertainment. These drawings are being created as renderings that will eventually be photographed and become stills in a much larger video projection. The idea is to morph these stills into one another, along with several other photographs of anglo participants without their garb, sans-accoutrement. The final video will eventually consist of 40 looping drawings and photographs that will project onto a wall mounted convex sphere. My objective is not to place my own judgement or interfere with this practice but create a work of art that addresses pan-cultural identity and the adoption of these rituals within many cultures, not just Native American Indian appropriation but East Indian, South American, Afro-American, etc... I believe there exists this interesting salad bar practice within mainstream culture where people are free to pick and choose what they like from this ethnic salad bar, and more often than not leave the rest behind. When we understand our unique tribal positions and our respective responsibilities we can better see that the role as Natives is often a troubled or bittersweet journey. One that is not open to reinterpretations, and with severe cultural policing and restriction for the initiated. The romantic and stoic ideas of some are held sacred to others who are bound to the belief that the balance of our universe must be kept sacred and private in this vital equilibrium. Respect, honor, disrespect, dishonor... All these apply to this uncomfortable and awkward situation. I choose to draw these blue eyed characters to begin the dialog because I believe that is what art does best. To begin a conversation and allow for the necessary discourse.. then to initiate change and some clear perspectives on what might possibly be considered by some, an innocent but antiquated practice that honors some distant tradition. This being your world of possibilities... you decide. The La Junta Indian Drawings are on exhibit for the first time with Ellsworth Gallery as part of the Creative Nation exhibition in partnership with SWAIA Indian Market 2016.


  • Artist
    Tony Abeyta (1965, Native American)
  • Creation Year
  • Condition
  • Dimensions
    H 35 in. x W 35 in.H 88.9 cm x W 88.9 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Santa Fe, NM
  • Reference Number
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About the Seller

5 / 5
1stdibs seller since 2015
Located in Santa Fe, NM
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