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The Gods Among Us: Stunning Hopi Art Exhibit

A story about Hopituy, a new exhibit of Native American Hopi art, at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art in Oklahoma.

A new exhibit featuring six types of Hopi katsina figures as depicted in 170 objects, from woodcarving, basketry and painting has just opened at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The extraordinary show, Hopituy: Hopi Art from the Permanent Collections, will be open to the public until September 15.

Rick James (U.S., Hopi; b. 1962) Crow Mother, 2001 Mixed media, 18 x 15 1?4 in. James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection, 2010 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; The University of Oklahoma, Norman

Katsinam are ancient deities who are represented through katsina dancers during ceremonies and multiple art forms, including wooden figures often mistakenly referred to as “kachina dolls” by Western audiences, according to the museum. Although as many as 300 distinct spirits have been identified by the Hopi, Hopituy closely explores the representations of six Hopi katsina figures in a range of materials: Angwusnasomtaqa (Crow Mother), Soyoko (Ogres), Koyemsi (Mudheads), Palhikmana (Dew Drinking Maiden), Angaktsina (Longhairs) and Nimankatsina (Home katsina). 

Delbridge Honanie (U.S., Hopi, b. 1946) Palhik Mana, ca. 1970-80s Cottonwood root, paint, feathers, leather, shells, 24 in. James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection, 2010 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; The University of Oklahoma, Norman

“For the Hopi, the katsinam actively offer a way of living that strives for peace, balance and self-respect that, when practiced, benefits the entire world,” said Heather Ahtone, the James T. Bialac Assistant Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art and curator of Hopituy, in a press release. “They follow these cultural practices, not because other options are not available to them, but because it has proven through centuries to be a manner of being by which they serve not only their own community but also humanity’s continuing need to seek balance with the earth. They follow the katsinam in the 21st century because, it could be argued, it is needed now more than ever.”

Educational programs are scheduled this summer at the museum, including a gallery talk with Ahtone at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11; a guest lecture with Hopi (Tewa)/Mojave artist James Lambertus at 6 p.m. Friday, July 19; and a gallery talk with Hopi (Tewa) artist Neil David Sr. at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 5. These programs are offered at no additional fee to the public. 

For more information about the exhibit, click here.