On Friday, January 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm at the Coe Center will be an evening of conversation with Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee/Seminole), Cody Sanderson (Diné/Navajo), and Keri Ataumbi (Kiowa) in conjunction with the exhibition How It Was Handed to Me: The Caesar Family Legacy. The conversation will focus on issues in contemporary Native jewelry, including how works are made, categorized, and consumed – with particular focus on how leading Native jewelers are pushing the boundaries of materials and production and how those shifts are being received by institutions and the general public.

The evening’s discussion will be within the backdrop of How It Was Handed to Me: The Caesar Family Legacy, organized by Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee/Seminole), which gathers jewelers and jewelry from New Mexico, Oklahoma, and beyond into a complex story of generational and creative legacies. It is the first exhibition to be mounted in Santa Fe that focuses on Plains jewelry created from nickel (or German) silver. Nickel silver is an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel and actually contains no silver—despite its name and appearance. It is widely used across Plains communities for dance regalia and for Native American Church ceremonies. Because it is lighter, brighter and more affordable, nickel silver is favored over sterling silver—which tarnishes easily when exposed to heat and moisture. Sadly, because of the purely functional element of this material, it has led it to be often overlooked by outside collectors and institutions and deemed “less valuable.”

The conversation with Ataumbi, Johnson, and Sanderson will draw upon their own creative practice and diverse careers as jewelers as well as the influence of the works on display. Each artist will talk about their individual designs regarding their inspiration, use of materials, and processes.

For more information about the exhibition How It Was Handed to Me: The Caesar Family Legacy click here.

Exhibition and public programs are generously sponsored by Palace Jewelers at Manitou Galleries.