Hopi High School students win art awards

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By Stan Bindell
Polacca, Arizona (NFIC) May 2011

Hopi High art students won 15 awards at the prestigious Heard Museum Guild American Indian Student Art Show and Sale at the museum in Phoenix.

Rodriguez Poleahla, a freshman at Hopi High, won the top Best of Show award for his kachina Black Ogre. His Black Ogre also won Best of Division II, one of the Judge’s Choice awards and a blue ribbon in the cultural items category.

Poleahla, 16, said he was proud to win all the awards.

“I’ve been carving since I was seven,” he said.

Poleahla was taught the carving skill by his father Wayne Poleahla and by his uncle AlRye “Hopi Boy” Polequaptewa.

The kachina was made from cottonwood. He painted the kachina black, white and red. It took him two days. His Black Ogre was sold at the Heard. The museum takes 20 percent and he gets the rest.

Poleahla said he was also proud of all the awards that his classmates won. His art teacher Mary Duwyenie congratulated him for winning the top award and the other awards.

He is considering a career in art, but said he likes to carve for fun during his free time.

“My advice for students who want to win Best of Show is keep up what your doing, don’t give up and believe in yourself,” he said.

He is the son of Wayne Poleahla and Felicia Namingha. They live in Shungopavi.

The other Hopi High art awards went to: Harold Lomayaktewa, Judge’s Choice Award for his painting of Mystical Night; Vance Quamahongnewa won two awards for his baskets. One award was a blue ribbon for his Butterfly basket and a red ribbon for his cradle board basket.

Dallas Fred won a green ribbon for his drawing of a deer, Hector Koyawena earned a red ribbon for his drawing of a badger and another red ribbon for his drawing of In the Morning.

Bryon Quamahongnewa won two awards in the cultural item category. He won a green ribbon for hoe’te and a red ribbon for his cow.

In the painting category, Ivy Batala won a green ribbon for her turtle island; Kahle Wathogoma won a green ribbon for her turtle kachina; and Harold Lomayaktewa won a green ribbon for her mystical night.