2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Visual Arts

PIVOT is a collection of 100 blank skateboard decks that artists of many tribes and backgrounds transformed into a colorful and diverse collection of art. From traditional carvers to contemporary painters, the decks on display represent a pivotal moment in Native American art, as a young generation combines traditional imagery and techniques with modern interpretations and canvases.

The exhibition, PIVOT opened at the Museum of Northern Arizona on Oct 13, 2018, and will remain on view until March 31, 2019. This exhibition stemmed from the dynamic collaborative documenting of Native American culture and is curated by Duane Koyawena and Landis Bahe. The exhibition spotlights the powerful work of the 32 invited artists.

The result is an expression of the pivotal moment in Native American art. It’s a time when Native American artists are expressing their tradition in new ways. Motifs found in ancient baskets, pottery and weaving become the basis for modern designs. Ancient stories are expressed in a contemporary graphic style.

Months before the exhibition opened, Koyawena and Bahe sent out 100 blank skateboard decks to artists who live throughout the Southwest. The selected artists represent many backgrounds,including Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, Comanche, O’odham, and Latinx artists. By bringing these artists together and asking them to work on identical canvases, PIVOT celebrates both the commonality and differences among the tribal traditions.

“Hopi and Navajo, we’ve become so separated, generation after generation of being taught certain things. This show is a pivotal moment for us because we’re all coming together,” noted Bahe, co-curator.

The Museum of Northern Arizona is an appropriate home for this exhibition. Flagstaff is an important location in the artistic progression of Native American arts. It is a city where people from the Navajo and Hopi reservations come for education, work and supplies, and an important mixing zone for many cultures, where artists meet and cross-pollinate with artists from other traditions. The Pivot exhibition even includes a couple of non-Native American artists, whose art has developed to reflect the influence of the Native American traditions.

PIVOT includes art by Abel Nash (Polacca, AZ), Al Bahe (Shonto, AZ), Antoinette Thompson (Lukachukai, AZ), Antone Chee (Phoenix, AZ), Antone Chee and Zander Arizona (Phoenix, AZ), Bahe Whitethorne Sr., (Flagstaff, AZ), Buddy Tubinaghtewa (Phoenix, AZ), Douglas Miles (San Carlos, AZ), Duane Koyawena (Flagstaff, AZ), Dwayne Manuel (Scottsdale, AZ), Emmett Navakuku (Flagstaff, AZ), Felicia Gabaldon (Oakland, CA), Garrett Etsitty (Phoenix, AZ), Jason Garcia (Santa Clara Pueblo, NM), Jeremy Singer (Tucson, AZ), Jerrel Singer (Flagstaff, AZ), Jodie Herrera (Albuquerque, NM), Kandis Quam (Zuni Pueblo, NM), Elroy Natachu (Zuni Pueblo, NM), Keith Smith (Tuba City, AZ), Landis Bahe (Flagstaff, AZ), Leandra Yazzie (Blue Gap, AZ), Marla Allison (Paguate, NM; Laguna Pueblo), Mavasta Honyouti (Hotevilla, AZ), Michelle Lowden (Acoma Pueblo, NM), Nate Begay (Flagstaff, AZ), Nick Lawrence (Flagstaff, AZ), Ryan Gashweseoma (Flagstaff, AZ), Ryan Singer (Albuquerque, NM), Sky Black (Flagstaff, AZ), Thomas Breeze Marcus (Phoenix, AZ), James Johnson (Phoenix, AZ), Randall J. Wilson (Flagstaff, AZ)

AZ Daily Sun Article
Juice Magazine Article
Lanouk.com Article