Zuni Shalako Ceremony witnessed by a Santa Clara Artist [SOLD]


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Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

The Zuni Shalako ceremony, held every year in late November or early December, draws an audience of mixed variety—many Navajo Indians, Pueblo Indians, Hispanic New Mexicans, and Euro-American tourists flock to the all-day and all-night event.  It is not unusual then to see parts of the ceremony painted by Navajo and Pueblo artists who have witnessed the event in person.

Pablita Velarde most likely visited the Zuni Shalako ceremony on numerous occasions as evidenced by her amazing details of the event shown in this painting.  The clothing of the 10-foot tall Shalako has been presented in detail that could only be realized by many visits to the ceremony.  The embroidery on the three layers of the fabric of the Shalako, the presentation of the Shalako Chief, a figure infrequently shown in paintings, and the details of the Mudhead Katsinas could only be memorized through frequent visits, as photography is forbidden during the ceremony.

Pablita spent most of her career painting with mineral earth pigments that she herself made from natural raw materials, but, occasionally, she painted with casein paints, as in this painting.  She was equally proficient in both mediums.  

Late in her career, Pablita applied an atomized spray of mixed-color paints as a background filler, something used by her daughter, Helen Hardin, from whom Pablita probably learned the process.  This is seen in casein paintings beginning in the early 1990s.  

Signature of artist: Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden DawnThis is an exceptional casein painting by Pablita, perhaps one of the best she ever made.  It is signed in lower right and dated 1991.  It is beautifully and professionally matted and framed.

Condition: appears to be in original condition

Provenance: from a client in Albuquerque

Recommended Reading: "Woman’s Work" The Art of Pablita Velarde by Sally Hyer

Close up view: Mudhead Katsinas could only be memorized through frequent visits

Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
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