(Photos | Courtesy of Raven Makes Gallery)
Jumping in and discussing an unfamiliar subject, Zuni artwork for instance, is like telling a newcomer from the Amazon about powder conditions on Mt Bachelor and snowboard racing. While art or an exotic sporting event can be a portal for visualizing the beyond, context about what’s viewed reduces confusion. However, there are times when contextual facts are sparse, as is the case with both the history and culture of the Zuni Pueblo. This type of paradigm then offers something rare—a true enigma.
Forty years ago, a young Navajo woman attending the University of New Mexico went to the Pueblo for a weekend stay with her newly found Zuni girlfriend. She never left. Considering that the Navajo are also a matriarchal society, it does not happen that a wife goes to live where the husband is. But it did happen. And she’s still there.
Jayne Quam not only stayed and made a life with Lynn, she learned from him how to make the centuries old tradition of small stone carvings depicting the animal spirits, known as Zuni Fetishes.
Jayne added a unique feature of inlaying stone into her works, a style more commonly seen in Kewa (Santo Domingo Pueblo) jewelry. Lynn mostly carves buffalos. Which is like saying Bob Dylan writes songs. A lot of Zuni artists have carved buffalos, but Lynn’s are it. A quiet man, his health can be up and down at this point in life, so he has to be careful about traveling.
Their daughter, Kandis, earned a degree in anthropology from the University of New Mexico. She became a painter and has taken the Zuni image making—first done in with colored pencils and within a Realism context seventy years ago—into contemporary perspectives. Elroy NatachuJr is the nephew of Jayne and Lynn. Through contemporary perspectives, he has dedicated himself to the preservation of the culture and in particular the Zuni Kachinas.
Together, they have formed the art partnership, Natachu Ink. The two of them, along with Jayne, will be in Sisters for a three day in person show at Raven Makes Gallery, October 27-29, coinciding with the Friday Art Stroll.
Raven Makes Gallery
182 E Hood Avenue, Sisters
Hours: 10-5pm Thursday-Saturday
Sunday 11-4 pm, Monday 11-4pm