Last year I attended my first Whitehawk Antique Indian Art Show at the Santa Fe Convention Center. I was impressed with the antique show that started, some thirty years ago, in hotel rooms and the hotel parking lot at the Hilton. Now, an amazingly large and high-quality show, Whitehawk’s dealers are spread throughout the Santa Fe Convention Center in a pleasant, gallery-type environment.
This year, I arrived early to enjoy the opening night festivities. The ticket included dinner and one drink of my choice. As I listened to Native flute music, I enjoyed a traditional harvest dinner cooked up by the folks at Cowgirl’s. Turkey and all the trimmings topped off by a selection of desserts was on the menu for the evening.
At 6 p.m. the show opened and the collectors and friends of Native American antiques thronged into the beautifully lighted display room. Ali McGraw was seen leading the pack, headed for a selection of silver jewelry. It was like “old home week,” with collectors being greeted by the gallery owners and everyone enjoying the festive atmosphere.
This year I was particularly impressed with the beautiful beadwork from Plains Indians tribes, the very unusual Navajo weavings and, since I now live in the Southwest, the work from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Canada. There were some amazing pieces showing hunting scenes and the traditional transformational whale carvings so well-known among the tribes to the north.
Whitehawk features one of the nation’s largest selections of antique Indian art objects ranging from Northwest Coast masks to antique Southwestern pottery, jewelry, textiles, California baskets, Plains beadwork of all types and artifacts from the Western, Great Lakes and Woodland tribes. This is the largest and longest running show for historic antique Indian Art.
Enjoying the Whitehawk Show
I would highly recommend visiting this show to, perhaps, find a treasure for your home but also to learn about Native American art in a historical context. Armed with visions of ancestral pottery, early Navajo jewelry and beadwork, you’ll be in a better position to enjoy the current Indian Market and make your purchase from today’s artists.
In addition to the Native American work, you’ll find a few things from South of the Border. I noticed some amazing Spratling silver necklaces in one case.
Just like the Whitehawk Ethnographic Antique Show, the dealers are experts in their particular collections. They are happy to talk with you about each item, explain the cultural aspects and the history. And, you will find a variety of prices. I saw lovely silver earrings for $28 among the larger, pricier collectibles.
Since the Whitehawk shows are held early in the week, it is a great way to kick off your visit to Indian Market.
And, while you are there, have a look at the Hauser Sculpture installation in the Convention Center courtyard.
Monday, August 13, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. ($10 admission)
Tuesday, August 14, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. ($10 admission)
Note: This event is neither affiliated with SWAIA nor is it an official Indian Market event.