Sale blends familiar with new

Dec. 4—Kandis Quam said she had been coming to the Winter Indian Market with her parents for as long as she can remember.

Quam of Zuni Pueblo started selling her work at the market seven years ago. She said she was introduced to the idea of painting on a skateboard by a skateboard deck art exhibit, which features work from Native American artists. At first, she wasn't sure what to think when the exhibit's curator asked Quam if she would be interested in painting on a skateboard.

"It wasn't really common at the time," Quam said. "But, for some reason, I had a really good feeling about it ... and I just kind of gave it a shot."

Quam, who paints traditional Native American patterns on a skateboard deck with modern techniques, is part of a handful of vendors at the winter market who have made it their mission to get Native American youth interested in their culture by bringing new life to the yearly event.

"I kind of like putting the traditional, with my own interpretation on top of it," Quam said.

The winter market was in full swing Saturday at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, with over

160 Native American artists displaying works ranging from jewelry to hand-woven baskets to elaborate paintings. The market continues Sunday.

Last year, the market was held with a limited capacity at the La Fonda Hotel due to coronavirus restrictions. Now, organizers are hoping this year's market will be bigger than ever.

Jamie Schulze, the director of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, said the Winter Indian Market normally gets about 2,500 attendees. She said SWAIA hopes to see up to 5,000 this weekend.

Artists like Quam and Keith Edaakie, a fellow skateboard deck artist from Zuni Pueblo, broke boundaries at an event that has long had strict restrictions on the type of work that could be included. Schulze said the market juries in its artist based on a list of qualifications, which have loosened up in recent years to keep up with the times.

"What we're looking at is really creating the opportunity for this youthful voice to be a part of the market," Schulze said. "We're adjusting some of our standards and creating those changes, because we know that art does shift, but holding true to the traditions and the techniques that have been sustained over hundreds of years."

Quam is a curator for the PIVOT Skateboard Deck Art Exhibit, which is on display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Edaakie, who also has work displayed at the exhibit, said many Native youth have grown out of touch with their culture, but skateboard deck art has helped them regain interest in it.

"A lot of our younger generations are finding it harder to understand our language and to really be able to take interest in our cultures and our values," Edaakie said. "But I think when we bring something that they're so used to, and they're familiar with, like a skateboard, it just kind of helps bridge these two generations together."