We move forward from two successful exhibitions in 2016 in Prague and in the USA to the challenge of an exhibition in the Netherlands in the Autumn. We continue to work on A2 sized pieces in portrait format and will be producing four pieces over the year with the theme of 'Freedom'. An essential part of our art is working in series to a common format which does give us all a framework for our creative endeavours.
Sunday, 4 December 2016
TREASURES - HOPI KATSINA FIGURES
The Hopi (Tohono O’odham) people live primarily on three mesas in Northeastern Arizona, about 70 miles from Flagstaff. In Hopi cosmology, the katsinas reside on the Humphreys Peak, approximately 60 miles west of Hopiland. Each year, throughout the period from winter solstice to mid-July, these spirits, in the form of katsinas, come down to the villages to dance and sing, to bring rain for the upcoming harvest, and to give gifts to the children.
The katsinas are known to be the spirits of deities, natural elements or animals, or the deceased ancestors of the Hopi. Prior to each katsina ceremony, the men of the village will spend days studiously making figures in the likeness of the katsinam represented in that particular ceremony. The figures are then passed on to the daughters of the village by the Giver Kachina during the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the figures are hung on the walls of the pueblo and are meant to be studied in order to learn the characteristics of that certain Kachina. Edward Kennard, co-author of Hopi Kachinas, says concerning the purpose of the kachina figure, “Essentially it is a means of education; it is a gift at dance-time; it is a decorative article for the home, but above all it is a constant reminder of the Kachinas."
We are losing the culture and arts of our indigenous peoples at an alarming rate. Their colorful history and customs are cultural treasures to be prized and protected.
The inspiration for the Katsina figures for my quilts came from the modern-day Katsina carvings by Jerome Naquatewa, a half-Hopi, half-Zuni artist living at the Zuni pueblo 150 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. I believe his carvings capture the friendly, playful essence of the Katsinas.
1. Eagle Dancer: Usually appears in the night ceremony in March; ruler of the sky and messenger to the heavens.
2. Sun Face: Represents the sun’s warmth and the hope for shelter for old people and a bright future for the young.
3. Crow Mother: Mother of all Katsinas; watches over the children as they play.
4. Buffalo Warrior: Appears only when children are initiated into the Katsina cult; assures there will be adequate food in winter; most powefulr of all Katsinas; protects children and can rid bad people of evil thoughts.