Two Feathers Gallery in Palm Desert showcases museum quality Native Art & Jewelry

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By Sandra Hale Schulman
Palm Desert, California (NFIC) 5-09

World traveler and award winning photographer Lauren Salkin has been taking pictures for years all over the world from Africa to Thailand.

In 2006 Ms. Salkin received a grant to teach photography to students in Afghanistan at Aina Media & Culture Center in Kabul. She was able to garner support by National Geographic who donated cameras that were used by the students in her project.

Her photographic essay Children’s Development Bank appeared in Geo Magazine’s July, 2007, issue and she recently appeared on CBS 2, Eye on The Desert, to tell her story.

She is known for her diverse photographic capabilities and her work has ranged from high profile fashion shows, such as DKNY, to performances by Ciara at Madison Square Garden. She has covered such political events as the Hillary Rodham Clinton Campaign to Hamid Karzai's International press conference at The Presidential Palace in Kabul.

But nowhere impressed her as much as the reservations in the American Southwest.

“I was really inspired by the photos I took on the rez because the people really defined themselves and their culture by their jewelry and artwork,” Salkin says. “Everything they had, the pieces all have meaning, purpose, and told stories. When I decided to open this gallery I felt I had to bring together different ethnicities to contribute.”

Located in a luxury boutique section of Palm Desert, nestled between mammoth chains like Tiffany and Saks Fifth Avenue, Two Feathers Gallery’s international jewelry artists bring spirituality, culture and sacred traditions to each piece they create. Two Feathers also showcases an impressive array of in-house and visiting visual artists that find their inspirations from places as far away as Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

These artists, from oil painters to contemporary photographers and sculptors, share their personal narratives and history through their original artwork.

 Beethoven bracelet

“I find artists on reservations including, Navajo, Hopi, Morongo, and at the Santa Fe Indian Market,” she says. “We rotate the showcase artists once a month. The pieces all have meaning from the bear fetishes, intention candles, and exquisite jewelry such as my current show of Michael Roanhorse’s trail of life earrings. “

Hailing from Crystal, New Mexico’s Navajo Reservation on the Chuska Mountains, Michael Roanhorse (Diné) was born into the Tábaahí Clan (By the Water) and the Kinyaa'aanii Clan (Towering House).

Roanhorse is rapidly emerging to the forefront of the Native Arts scene. He continues to earn significant recognition among his contemporaries garnering accolades at the nation's top venues: including the Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, the Smithsonian National Museum for the American Indian special jewelry market where he exhibits once a year, and the Eiteljorg Museum.

Complex and highly narrative, each work forged by Roanhorse’s skilled hands is distinctive – a three-dimensional realization of his original abstract vision. Collectors describe his jewelry as wearable sculpture – literal works of fine art.

“I learned the basics of silver and metalsmithing from my father, “Roanhorse says. “I researched the fundamentals, including various techniques of silversmithing, while furthering my knowledge and experience. My goal is to push the envelope of contemporary art in silver, metal, and sculpture. I also want to keep evolving my style to help create a new and modern field in contemporary art.


“The oral history of my people, handed down to my generation, fuels my artistic pursuits. The old stories give me ideas for each piece I create. The process I use to forge my works is three-fold: first, I envision the piece as an abstract painting, and then I see the piece as a three-dimensional sculpture. Lastly, I combine everything, creating a three dimensional abstract sculpture that is wearable art.

“I believe in learning about our own history and background, and that process will help teach our younger generations who and where they come from so that we as Diné will not lose our heritage.”

Roanhorse continues to draw from his cultural heritage to inspire new creative themes, while striving beyond the boundaries of traditional Native jewelry design and function.

Other feature artists at Two Feathers include sculptor Lance Yazzie, Carlo Wahlbeck, David Murphy, Carlos White Eagle and Salkin’s own exotic photographs.

Two Feathers Gallery is located at 73560 El Paseo, Suite D Palm Desert, California.

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