The Santa Fe Zohi Gallery: Amazing Native Art and a Virtual Standing Tour

Courtesy ZOHI Gallery / Zoe Urness and Lehi Thunder Voice Eagle at the Zohi Gallery.

Alex Jacobs

The new Native-owned and operated Zohi Gallery is a Native rich gallery in Santa Fe that got it’s start at Standing Rock

The Zohi Gallery is a Native-owned and operated art space on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Santa Fe showcasing amazing Native art from across the U.S. One of the most innovative installations now at the gallery is Seminole/Muscogee film-maker Sterlin Harjo’s virtual reality tour of Standing Rock.

In the Virtual Standing Rock Tour, based on footage taken by camp organizer Dallas Goldtooth, visitors can ride a bicycle through Standing Rock camp, meet elders and take part in a communal dinner.

The owners Zoe Urness, (Tlingit/Cherokee) photographer, and Lehi Thunder Voice Eagle, (Navajo) painter,have partnered to give gallery attendees an experience in the rich Native art in sculpture, fine art, photography, masks, dance , fashion, skateboards, and film screenings focusing on the contributions of Native artisans.

Zoe Urness and Lehi Thunder Voice Eagle, (Zo from Zoe, and Hi from Zohi) crossed paths at Standing Rock and like many other Native artists, were caught up in the emotion and power of the water protectors, the elders and the #NoDAPL movement.

Urness has travelled Indian country for her acclaimed photography series, Native Americans: Keeping the Traditions Alive. She has shown the photo series at Photo L.A., Art Basel Miami at SPECTRUM, the Heard Museum Art Market, Native Treasures in Santa Fe, and has won awards in photography at SWAIA’s Santa Fe Indian Market and The Autry Museum in Los Angeles.

​ICMN reached out to them the same night they showed the new documentary AWAKE: A Dream from Standing Rock presented by Paiute/Shoshone film-maker Myron Dewey.

Zoe Urness and Lehi Thunder Voice Eagle explained the Zohi Gallery.

“It’s not about competing with other galleries,” says Urness “We want to inform and create an experience and to always carry the message forward. We are in the middle of the Indian art world and in a major commerce center.”

“This space is also our voice and so we are also representing Native America. In Santa Fe there are very few galleries run by Natives representing Natives,” said Voice Eagle.

​“Our friends are top Native artists, some were at Standing Rock, they are supporting and advising us and we all complement each other. We feel that others, artists, Native and non-Native people, art lovers, buyers, will be coming to support our community, this space. This is unique and empowering, we are building a beautiful community,” said Urness.

“Art is not meant to be stifled. It is not just about art that sells. Art and culture flow through us and that is the message we carry. Live the life you were meant to. We all are here to do good work, to protect each other and the Earth for future generations. As we learned at Standing Rock, it’s also about prayer. And art is about healing. People can come here and see our cultures as moving, as fluid, as dynamic. Success will follow,” said Urness.

​Zohi Gallery also hosted a fashion show Saturday August 19 MC’ed by Bobby Wilson of the 1491s with designers Bethany Yellowtail (Apsaalooke Crow), Tsetsehestahese & So’taeo’o (Northern Cheyenne), Thunder Voice Eagle (Diné-Navajo), Bobby Itta (Inupiaq), Section35 (Maskwacîs Cree/Nehiyaw), Maya Stewart (Chickasaw, Creek and Choctaw.)

Zohi Gallery also featured live performances from visiting Native artists on Saturday, August 19, and Sunday, August 20. After the Fashion Show, Santiago X (Chamorro) a visual and recording artist based in Chicago, performed upstairs on Saturday August 19 along with a multi-media show by Dine’ multi-discipline artist Randy Barton called Sacred Cypher with DJ’s, a drum group, Aztec drummers and dancers, pow wow dancers and break dancers.

​Some of the gallery artists include: Bethany Yellowtail, Shonto Begay, Jaque Fragua, Darren Vigil Gray, Tony Abeyta, Steven Paul Judd, Bunky Echo-Hawk, Sterlin Harjo, Santiago X, Ira Lujan, Randy Barton, Gregg Deal, Cheyenne Randall, Ishi Gilinsky, Felicia Gabaldon, Craig George, Sage Joseph, Ryan Benally, Anderson Kee, Billy Rogers, Julius Badoni, Cree LaRance, Brent Learned, Brent Greenwood, Thunder Voice Eagle and Zoe Urness.