OPENING MONDAY, APRIL 14 at the Jean Cocteau Gallery
WINGS – SILVERSMITH AND PHOTOGRAPHER
There will not be a formal opening for this show, but there may be a reception pending…
Wings, a self-taught silversmith and professional photographer, is an enrolled member of Taos Pueblo, the People of the Red Willow. His heritage is exclusively Tiwa, which is his people’s name for their ancestry, their spiritual beliefs, and their native language, which he speaks fluently.
The third of seven children, Wings was raised in the family home at the Pueblo and grew up immersed in the Tiwa cultural, spiritual, artistic, and linguistic heritage. He and his family are “traditionals” and walk in two worlds: Although they live in contemporary society, they also follow the old ways that have sustained the Pueblo and its people for more than a thousand years.
From his earliest memories, art has informed and shaped Wings’s life. As a child, he dreamed of attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, but family finances put those dreams on hold. Growing up, Wings lived for a time in southern Utah, eventually working for a pipeline company and attending college. As a young man, he subsequently spent four years in Boston. But while both places provided valuable experiences that shaped his life and his art, neither was home: Homesick for his land and his people, Wings returned to Taos Pueblo permanently, finding a renewed hunger – and a renewed inspiration – to focus on his art.
Back home, Wings held numerous jobs – in restaurants, as a laborer, as a paramedic – to make ends meet while working toward his ultimate goal of making a living as an artist. For several years, he worked for the Pueblo’s Tribal Court as a juvenile probation officer and adjudicator of children’s cases, networking with Native justice system professionals around the country and gaining insight into other tribal traditions. Those experiences reaffirmed his deep love for children, and his extensive work with at-risk youth further strengthened his sense of gratitude, responsibility, and hope for his people, and those passions infuse his art. And with the dawn of the new century, Wings’s lifelong dreams were realized: He now focuses exclusively on creating and selling his art.
Sterling silver is Wings’s primary medium, and he approaches it in the traditional fashion, using Native silversmithing techniques. All of his silverwork is hand-cut and hand-stamped; he uses only natural gemstones such as turquoise, coral, garnet, onyx, and other precious gifts from the earth. In recent years, he has expanded his art to include photography, using the medium to illuminate Pueblo life and traditions, his people’s role in the natural world, and their relationship to the other two-leggeds and four-leggeds. He also plays the traditional Native flute, and continues to experiment with new media.
Wings draws his inspiration from the world around him: a ray of light . . . a passing shadow . . . the movement of the water that runs through the Pueblo and sustains its life . . . the flash of a dragonfly . . . the flicker of a bird’s wings, like a gentle heartbeat . . . the strength and grace of a running horse . . . the healing beauty of sage and Indian paintbrush . . . and always, always the lessons
THIS SHOW WILL BE AT THE JEAN COCTEAU CINEMA, 418 MONTEZUMA, FROM TUESDAY, APRIL 15th THROUGH SUNDAY, MAY 11th