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Fine art festival brings Tucson into the spotlight

Art+exhibits+at+the+La+Encantada+Fine+Art+Festival+on+Nov.+5+at+2905+E.+Skyline+Dr.+The+shopping+mall+holds+three+fine+art+festivals+throughout+the+year.+
Art exhibits at the La Encantada Fine Art Festival on Nov. 5 at 2905 E. Skyline Dr. The shopping mall holds three fine art festivals throughout the year.

Tucson is a city rich in art, especially expression through painting and uniquely southwestern styles. The La Encantada Fine Art Festival’s purpose is to bring to light the talented artists who live in our community. 

The festival allows any artist in Tucson who’s interested to apply and be able to sell their art as well as display it for select weekends of the year. Each artist is allowed to attend two of the three yearly festivals in order to keep the display fresh for those visiting. 

Held in the beautiful garden walkways of La Encantada, artists from all around Arizona congregate to show their craft. In the case of Ute Van, a local artist who immigrated from Germany, her purpose was to show those around her what the beauty of Arizona is truly like. 

“I’ve been painting ever since I was 10 years old,” Van said. “I love it just as much as I did then, and I specialize in natural art, so I do a lot of animals, plants and their magical and whimsical aspects.” 

One of her pieces, named “The Bond,” reflects this as it depicts a Native American girl and her horse. 

“The story behind this one was I wanted to do a painting that shows the connection that an animal has with a person, and I was trying to figure out, ‘how would I paint that?’ Her hair floats into the mane of the horse, and the horse has a feather in it, and the girl has the same one as earrings,” Van said.

Along with “The Bond,” Van has many other amazing art pieces for sale that reflect her own artistic style. Walking around, you may discover, however, that rather than using art as a way to convey beauty, some use it as a way to spread important messages. 

Roger “Sosakete” Perkins is a member of the Mohawk nation and the owner of Powowpop Art. He has a unique style that combines popular culture with 19th-century photographs of Native American tribal leaders. 

“When I was taking a multimedia class in 2012 in Berkley, California, our instructor told us to create our own art movement,” Sosakete said. “I took old photos of tribal leaders and brought them into my digital programs and did a lot of different manipulations, adding color and adding a background to create an entirely different version of them like superheroes, singers or pop art icons and called my art movement ‘Powowpop’ art”

A “Powwow” is a Native American ceremony involving feasting, singing and dancing, which Sosakete loves to attend. Sosakete doesn’t just limit himself to his own ideas, however. 

“People want to see their faces on some of these pictures I make because they’re so cool. They also wanna see their families’ faces,” Sosakete said.

Sosakete is a fighter for Indigenous people’s rights, and the reason Sosakete makes his art is very powerful. The slogan of his business is “It’s a good day to disobey!” This is a play-off of the saying “It’s a good day to die,” which Sosakete says was an important slogan used by Native American leaders during the American Indian Wars, in which the United States’ government forcefully relocated tribes

“When I say I’m talking about all the laws, I’m talking about all the laws, systems, education, religion, politics and all the different rules that trapped us on these little reservations to keep us off our original homeland,” Sosakete said.

He believes that Arizona is a very safe place to spread his message because of the many tribes that call this state home. The La Encantada Fine Art Festival will run again on the weekend of Jan. 27, 2024, and is located at 2905 E. Skyline Dr. Find more information on the La Encantada Fine Art Festival website.


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