Historical Art Revival in the American Southwest Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo, Apache
Historical Art Revival in the American Southwest
Five major Indian tribes compose most of the native population in the American southwest: the Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache. The artistic traditions of the Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache tribes have gradually been incorporated into many different aspects of local culture. Adobe and rammed earth construction are popular, with some artists choosing to add fluids found in local plants and flowers to color the clay-based sculptures and buildings. Both adobe bricks and rammed earth construction take advantage of the naturally dry conditions of the American southwest, where the consistently hot, dry temperatures can cure earthen construction materials quickly, giving them added strength and durability over their counterparts in wetter climates.
Many local contractors also take design cues from historical native art, constituting what many consider to be an art revival in the construction industry. Rammed earth floors finished with a variety of natural oils provide a naturally insulated, beautiful floor that will last many years without excessive influence from external moisture. Contractors often inlay floors and walls in these adobe homes with historical art, such as pieces of turquoise and even traditional American southwest glaze paint pottery. The murals and inlaid designs are then protected with a breathable finish to provide a means for the wall to reach equilibrium with the surrounding humidity (this helps boost durability).
The historical art trade has also presented an opportunity for Indian reservations to bolster their economies, with off-site visitors arriving to take art classes and purchase historical art produced in traditional fashion by the reservation. The native art revival in the American southwest has led to many colleges and universities offering programs in native history and art, presenting additional employment opportunities for Indian reservation residents as well as a means of maintaining positive contact with the surrounding communities. As we can see, the art of the Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache tribes has had a great impact upon art and living in America today.
Recent technologies may yet aid this process even further. Some historical art enthusiasts have an interest in preserving artifacts in three-dimensions through 3D printing. This new technology reads computer designs and renders them in a variety of materials (generally plastic) with great precision. Preservationists and museum curators are interested in using 3D printers to create software representations of major pieces of historical art as well as the techniques used to manufacture those pieces, all to ensure that the art is not lost to history. For the many traditional techniques still used in the American southwest (such as glaze paint pottery), 3D printing can be a means to immortality and instruction, allowing future generations to observe the techniques of current craftsmen.
Keywords: American southwest, art revival, Indian reservation, historical art, Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo, Apache