HEALING HUMMINGBIRDS


Santa Fe, NM. Oct. 20 - Nov 20, 2018 – The Singular Couture gallery of fine art hand painted women’s apparel is pleased to present a solo exhibition titled “Hummingbird Beauty” of artist Anthony Gchachu’s original painted silk coats and vests. The show will feature Gchachu’s work with an opening reception on Oct. 20, from 2-5 PM at which Gchachu will be on hand to discuss his work.

Gchachu’s use of the traditional Zuni hummingbird symbol is his signature look. To the Zuni, the hummingbird signifies strength of culture, it’s slim beak the needle that stitches the earth back together. It is a graceful, spiraling motif that lends itself to repetition in natural branching patterns. Gchachu handles variations of it in scale and color with a keen eye for what works well in art to wear, a medium that involves living human body motion and viewing in the round. 

“The most important thing to me is the preservation of Zuni language, traditions, and culture,” says Gchachu, a mostly self-taught artist working from the Zuni stories and myths he grew up with. Some of his silk apparel pieces show the hummingbird motif alone, in elegant, flowing renderings, or with added touches of expertly painted realist butterflies, bluebirds, Turquoise stones or Puebloan pottery pieces.

A recent work, titled “Save Our World” is his most narrative yet, showing the hummingbird motif on the front side emerging from a landscape of black, chasm-like canyons, with a beautiful piece of pottery poised at the edge of a canyon wall. According to Gchachu the traditionally painted black and white pot “represents the Zuni people, our culture and everything we are given by our elders to hold.” Its precarious position portrays the urgency of cultural preservation powerfully. The rather ominous canyons transform as they wind around to the backside of the coat, becoming gentler mesas with a wide river flowing through them. The traditional figure of the Rainbow Dancer is shown flying above the scene, as he is “the bringer of life-giving rains,” explains Gchachu.

But perhaps the best of all is a wonderful surprise Gchachu has included in the piece by painting, on the inside of the pocket, a small badger, his gaze directed to the positive outcome painted on the back side. Here is the key to preserving tradition and culture, for the badger represents boldness, passion and persistence: carry him with you and you will not give up until you reach your desired goal. To wear such a beautiful and meaningful work of art is a rare and transformative experience, allowing the wearer to feel Gchachu’s call for preservation deeply and to celebrate its cause wherever you go.

Singular Couture represents 20 artists from New York to Los Angeles, with about half being from the greater southwest area. “We want to offer another medium of self-expression to artists,” and “one that offers unique visibility as well as challenges,” says Managing Director Jane Sauer. “About 50% of our artists are Native American” says Sauer, including area Puebloan artists as well as Osage, Muscogee and Chickasaw. “We want to support Native artists and their many beautiful and unique voices.”

Singular Couture is found in the Plaza Galeria on the southside of the plaza and is open six days a week. The website is singularcouture.com. For more information, contact jane@singularcouture.com or call 505-699-0339.