|Alma mater||Northern Arizona University
University of Arizona
Phillip Sekaquaptewa is a Hopi artist and silversmith in Hopi silver overlay and stone inlay, featuring the lapidary genres of commesso and intarsia. Sekaquaptewa uses colorful stones and shell for his Hopi silver overlay, not only plain silver decorated with chisel strokes on black oxide surfaces, a Hopi-signature technique known as matting.
He was born in 1956 in a traditional Hopi village on Second Mesa on the Hopi Reservation, located in Northern Arizona. He learned his cultural heritage as a resident Hopi and then entered active silversmithing taking up the tools after his uncle, Emory. Sekaquaptewa is internationally known for his contemporary and idiosyncratic designs which incorporate traditional Hopi pottery with contemporary flush stonework and inlay of bone and shell in blocky, masculine style. He does other styles as well, but the rectangular-themed composite rugged silver/stonework is his artistic signature. and makes his work instantly recognizable to anyone who has encountered it before, not only experts.
Sekaquaptewa is a 1973 graduate of Northern Arizona University with a bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a masters degree from the University of Arizona, 1974. He gained interest in the field of jewelry from his father and from his uncle Emory Sekaquaptewa, the linguist and silversmith as well, who co-founded the Hopi Gallery on the Third Mesa, Arizona. Sekaquaptewa has won awards for his unique silver designs at the most prestigious American Indian Art competitions in the U.S., including Red Earth, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, The Hopi Show, Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Heard Museum Indian Fair in Phoenix, Arizona, Indian Ceremonial, held annually in Gallup, New Mexico, and many others. His work has also been published and featured in Southwest Art, American Indian Art, Native Peoples' Magazine, Beyond Tradition, a is described in a book by Jerry Jacka titled Art of the Hopi, the definitive guide to silversmiths, weavers, potters, and kachina doll-makers of the Hopi Nation, also authored by Jacka, Magazine of the Southwest, and several times in Arizona Highways magazine.
Art and residence
Sekaquaptewa uses a unique combination of traditional silver or gold overlay with contemporary design of his own. Combined, his jewelry comprises stylized or preserved traditional Hopi pottery motifs, as well as lapidary texture and color inserted through the use of semi-precious stones and abalone shell. Using stone and shell is unusual for Hopi silversmiths, and is more typical of the Zuni and other Pueblo people, as well as the ethnographically disjoint Diné (Navajo) silversmiths -- usually turquoise. In sum, the main features are sterling silver, stones, and contemporary design of his authorship, all applied in a synthetic blend as new Hopi jewelry.
Sekaquaptewa currently resides at the village of Sipaulovi (or Supawlavi) on Second Mesa in Northern Arizona, and works at his Weseoma Studio. He lives with his family: daughter Caroline, son Wayne, and two family dogs Drexler and Bambi. He assiduously attends the children's sporting events, practices golf extensively, and is an accomplished fly-fishing sports fisherman. He is a member of the Eagle clan, as well as on his distaff side, the Snake clan. As befits a resident Hopi, in that obligatory capacity Sekaquaptewa participates actively in observances obligatory under the traditional Hopi calendar, which comprises various public and restricted attendance ceremonies.
Sekaquaptewa works towards the preservation of the Hopi language and the Hopi tradition, while funding his Nation and making a living by creating new contemporary art uniquely informed by his heritage, silver apprenticeship, artistic creativity, and academic training.
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- The Hopi Show, Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff
- annual: Heard Museum Indian Fair, Phoenix
- annual: Indian Ceremonial, Gallup
- annual: Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Jacka, Jerry: Art of the Hopi , Flagstaff, Arizona: Northland Publishers, 1998. (link to WorldCat entry)
- Mori, John & Mori, Joyce: Hopi silversmithing, Los Angeles: Southwest Museum, 1971. (link to WorldCat entry)