“It doesn’t feel like I’m innovating or breaking any traditions, because I’m pretty much using traditional materials and my family have been potters since time immemorial. There hasn’t been a broken line in our ceramics and our artistic and cultural traditions. Maybe the title is supposed to be ironic,” Jason Garcia said of his participation in Rocking the Boat: Innovation as Tradition, the 2019 speaker series at the School for Advanced Research’s Indian Arts Research Center. Garcia, of Santa Clara Pueblo, joins Lonnie Vigil of Nambé Pueblo for the final installment of the series, “Returning Home: Tradition and Innovation in Tewa Country,” a panel discussion moderated by Tony Chavarria, curator of ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

Vigil, a potter, works in micaceous clay in the tradition of his ancestors while pushing his forms in a contemporary direction. Vigil’s great-grandmother, Perfilia Anaya Pena, and his aunt, Quah Povi, worked in the same medium. Vigil continues the practice of gathering materials by hand in the fall and spring. He turned to pottery in the 1980s after becoming dissatisfied in a graphic design career. In 1994, he was the first recipient of the Ron and Susan Dubin Native American Artist Fellowship at SAR, which was then known as the School of American Research.

Garcia studied photography at the University of New Mexico and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is also a recipient of SAR’s Ron and Susan Dubin Fellowship, as well as Best of Classification and Artist’s Choice awards at Santa Fe Indian Market. His clay pots and graphic ceramic panels combine traditional imagery, such as that of the corn maiden, with modern elements including cellphones, power lines, and athletic team mascots. 

“Returning Home: Tradition and Innovation in Tewa Country” is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, at the School for Advanced Research (660 Garcia Street). There is no cost for admission, but pre-registration is encouraged at sarweb.org/iarc/iarc-speaker-series/2019-series. For more information, call 505-954-7200.

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