Courtesy MIAC
Craig Dan Goyesun's iconic, whirling 'Gaan' (Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer) braces for company as a sculpture by Allan Houser is lowered into the MIAC plaza.

Heavy Legacy: Sculptures Descend on MIAC for Allan Houser Tribute

Alex Jacobs

The Museum of Indian Art and Culture (MIAC, presents a tribute exhibit, Footprints: The Inspiration and Influence of Allan Houser, for the legendary Apache sculptor. There are public openings on Aug 21 and 22, marking 20 years since Houser’s passing as he would’ve been 100 on June 30. The new MIAC Director, Della Warrior, brought in Dorothy Grandbois (IAIA photography professor) as curator, and they invited several top Native sculptors, most of them past SWAIA award winners and IAIA graduates, who considered Houser a mentor and role model. Ms. Grandbois and crew documented the installation of the monumental works on an overcast day in late July, followed by a dedication opening on Sunday, August 8.

Sculptures by Allan Houser, and others, arrive on a flatbed and await a lift from the crane. Photo courtesy MIAC.

Footprints: The Inspiration and Influence of Allan Houser, features sculptors, Larry Ahvakana, Don Chunestudey, Cliff Fragua, Craig Dan Goseyun, Rollie Grandbois, Bob Haozous, Phillip Mangas Haozous, Doug Hyde, Oreland Joe, Tony Lee, Estella Loretto, Bill Prokopiof, Robert Shorty. Allan Houser was among the first of the free Chiricahua Apache generation born outside captivity, after Geronimo surrendered in 1886. Freedom, captivity, exile, homeland and identity are themes often found in the work of his son, Bob Haozous. Bob said of his father, “Allan was dedicated to depicting the dignity of Native people.”

A worker guides Oreland Joe's 'Owner of the Mountain Songs' into place. Photo courtesy MIAC.

Allan Houser, Inc. has been extremely busy with 12 tribute shows around the country: Nine in Oklahoma, one at the Heard Museum, one at Dartmouth, with Market shows at their downtown gallery and the Allan Houser Sculpture Garden off Highway 14. Allan Houser, Inc. presents six sculptures for Footprints, and the other acclaimed artists brought in 27 pieces from around the country; this work is truly monumental and inspiring. Most if not all the pieces are for sale, so if you do attend one of the openings please take time to talk to the individual artists, who will be taking time from their own busy schedules to attend. The tribute show will actually open up this year’s Indian Market weekend as the elder generations will be there on Thursday, August 21 to honor Houser and the new generation will be there in the evening to hear the new electric pow-wow sensation, A Tribe Called Red.

'Mothering II' by Phillip M. Haozous, one of Allan Houser's five sons, is lowered into place. Photo courtesy MIAC.

MIAC has been bringing in Native American musicians to play for an appreciative public in a year-long program up on Museum Hill. Santa Fe is known for all its museums, most are downtown or up on Museum Hill. MIAC shares the hill with The Wheelwright Museum, International Folk Art Museum, Spanish Colonial Arts Museum, and New Mexico State Anthropology Lab. MIAC has been featuring native music inside and outdoors all year long. There’s a spiral labyrinth in the brick courtyard between MIAC and the Folk Art Museum, where they sometimes set up the Sun Mountain show with artist booths.

Alex Jacobs
Santa Fe NM
August 14, 2014

'Prayer for the Future' by Rolle Grandbois descends to its base. Photo courtesy MIAC.
Three workers assemble Cliff Fragua's 'Dawn of the Puebloan Legacy' as the artist, kneeling, directs. Photo courtesy MIAC.
Tony Lee's 'Element' comes in for a landing. Photo courtesy MIAC.

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