Paths of Beauty: Isabel Gonzales and Shawn Tafoya opens at Pojoaque Pueblo’s Poeh Cultural Center and Museum (in New Mexico) on August 20, just a month away! I am grateful and excited to be curating this exhibition about two of my favorite people, both dedicated teachers and specialists in Pueblo embroidery and pottery. We spent last week together in Pojoaque, gathering the 50 pieces for the show, writing labels and text panels, identifying the correct Towa and
Tewa words in their language to get it just right, shooting video, and planning the installation. And there was lots of talk about the food for the opening celebration, to which the entire Pueblo community (and the public!) is invited.
The exhibit celebrates Isabel Gonzales of Jemez Pueblo and Shawn Tafoya of Santa Clara Pueblo who have dedicated themselves to continuing and passing on their creative gifts. Both are incredibly talented textile artists and teachers who make the traditional cotton garments needed and worn in Pueblo ceremonies throughout the year. Shawn is also an accomplished potter. The exhibit is developed primarily for a Pueblo audience, and will highlight the very special role of handmade cloth within living Pueblo contexts.
I’ve worked closely with Shawn and Isabel for years now and it is fantastic to see the Pueblo community honoring them in this way. Meet Shawn and Isabel on video in the Penn Museum’s own Native American Voices exhibition.
Read an essay we co-authored in 2007: “WaHa-belash adi Kwan tsáawä / Butterflies and Blue Rain: The Language of Contemporary Eastern Pueblo Embroidery”