The textile artist and fashion designer Wendy Ponca offers a contemporary expression of the sawtooth symbol as it relates to rivers, life passages, and the forward movement of the Wahzhazhe. Through undulating lines of draped silk and evocative lighting and sound, the artist transformed the gallery space to inspire reflection on this symbol.
About the artist: Wendy Ponca comes from a family where creativity and artistic pursuit are part of daily conversations. While her father Carl Ponca was a professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, she studied art in their high school program. Ponca has passed on this passion for creative expression that articulates contemporary Wahzhazhe culture to her children: Sarah Elsberry, Alex Ponca Stock, Bobby Ashmore, and Carl Thomas Ashmore as well as her grandchildren Luke Elsberry, Liam Ashmore, and Sam Ashmore. She is an accomplished artist with prestigious awards and commissions, including textile designer for the Pendleton Company and the “Hero and Legend of Osage County” by the Osage County Historical Society. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles, CA; the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK; the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.; and the Museum of Contemporary Native Art in Santa Fe. She earned a BFA from Kansas City Arts Institute and an MA in Art Therapy from Southwestern College Santa Fe in 1996. She is a retired professor from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.
IMAGE: Wisdom, Honor, Mystery, Truth, and Calm from Seven Bends in the River of Life. Mixed Media Installation by Wendy Ponca.