In the vast, dimly lit ballroom of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, the atmosphere was charged with anticipation. The eager audience chatted nervously, waiting for SWAIA director Ira Wilson (Diné) to announce the classification winners, the special award winners, and finally building up to the grand finale—the 98th annual Santa Fe Indian Market Best of Show winner.
The 2019 Best of Winner is Jackie Larson Bread, a Blackfeet beadwork artist from Montana. Inspired by this year’s market theme, “Rise and Remember: Honoring the Resilience of Native Women,” Bread decided to honor her great-aunt with a naturalistic portrait rendered in glass seed beads. As always, her color palette was subtle and exquisite with soft greens, lilacs, and golden hues. She beaded the figure and floral designs on a floral-printed cloth ground and incorporated Blackfeet geometric designs on her great-aunt’s buckskin dress.
When the award was announced, Jackie strode up to the microphone but was overcome by tears before sharing an emotional speech. Her Indian Market booth will be at PLZ 638 on Plaza Avenue.
Competition for winning Best of Show was intense, and many of Best of Classification-winning artworks were strong contenders. The Best of Classification winners are as follows.
I. Jewelry: Sarah Aragon (Diné)
II. Pottery: Russell Sanchez (San Ildefonso)
III. Painting/Drawings/Graphics/Photography: Marwin Begaye (Diné)
IV. Wooden Pueblo Figurative Carvings and Sculpture: Aaron Honyumptewa (Picuris/Hopi)
V. Sculpture: Troy Sice (Zuni)
VI. Textiles: Venancio Aragon (Diné)
VII. Diverse Arts: Dana Warrington (Menominee/Potawatomi)
VIII. Beadwork/Quillwork: Jackie Larson Bread (Blackfeet)
IX. Youth: Robert Begay (Diné)
X. Moving Images: on hiatus
XI. Basketry: Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy)
Fourteen special awards were announced. These include the IAIA Distinguished Alumni Award, won by Monty Little (Diné), Bernard Ewell Innovation Award, won by Tom Farris (Otoe-Missouria/Cherokee), Tony Da Memorial Award, won by Jennifer Tafoya (Santa Clara Pueblo), and the Oqwa-Pi Pueblo Painting Award, won by Thomas Tapia (Tesuque).