Santa Fe Indian Jewelry Exhibit at the Heard Museum

The jewelry of Yazzie Johnson (Navajo) and Gail Bird (Santo Domingo/Laguna are featured in an exhibition opening Feb. 17, 2007, at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Ariz.

Working together for more than 30 years, Johnson and Bird have built a reputation for fine art jewelry that has been described as “frequently dramatic, always wearable, and compositionally arresting,” according to exhibition curator Diana Pardue. “Shared Images” takes a chronological look at the artists’ work and process.

“Shared Images: The Jewelry of Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird,” presents their elegant earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces alongside their best-known work—the thematic belts. Assembled and on view for the first time as a series will be their well-known collection of belts designed and debuted each year since 1979 at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

The Santa Fe Indian market belts, along with other belts, will be among a total of 43 belts on view. Often revolving around light-hearted subjects, from dinosaurs to traffic signs, the belts exemplify the artists’ skilled design executed through the utilization of diverse metals, patterns, figures and stones. Known for their juxtaposition of type, color, and texture of stones and untraditional materials, from pearls to wood, Bird and Johnson’s designs reveal an extensive knowledge of materials and keen sense of design.

The exhibition will be on view through July 9.

Accompanying the exhibition, the new catalogue, “Shared Images: The Innovative Jewelry of Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird,” by Diana Pardue, offers 180-pages featuring the artists’ jewelry creations, with more than 200 photographs. It is priced at $45 and is available at the Heard Museum Shops.