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Sioux Indian Museum, Rapid City, South Dakota


Previous Exhibition:

De Haven Solimon Chaffins - "Under the Influences of Tradition and Ceremony"
August 31 - October 29, 2008

'Under the Influence' - while most people consider these words as a link to the likes of alcohol, drugs, or some kind of destructive element, De Haven Solimon Chaffins sees these three words as more of an inspiration. Positive influences can come from understanding and enrichment of traditional and ceremonial beliefs, family, friends, music, literature, art, travel, nature and even popular culture. As a child she grew up on and off the reservation while her father served in the Marine Corps for more than twenty years. Within that time she was exposed to a multitude of interesting people and places. Two things in particular stood out for her and that was the presentation of modern art and classical music at a preschool she attended while in California.

When it came time to move back to the Pueblo in New Mexico, Chaffins had the honor of living with her grandparents and uncles in the village of Paguate in the Pueblo of Laguna. It was probably one of the happiest times in her life, she says. One of her uncles enjoyed classical music as much as she did. It was there that she learned more about the traditional aspects of art and pueblo imagery. "My own pathway of influences has had many twists and turns; some for the better (the birth of my son and daughter), some for the worse (the death of my two year old son). But for each of these life experiences, there is also a formation of a fragment, which then develops into an image on to a piece of canvas or on to a piece of wood." For Chaffins, traditional stories and pueblo beliefs have always played an important role in the creation of her imagery - a reflection of a prayer, or a fragment of a story, a place where deities dwell. Currently, she finds inspiration in all aspects of nature from animal tracks to cloud formations.

De Haven Solimon Chaffins was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and is an enrolled member of the Laguna and Zuni Pueblo. She attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and received an Associate of Fine Arts Degree in 1990; in 1995 she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the College of Fine Arts, University of New Mexico. Her work appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1995 in New Mexico, California, Illinois, Arizona, Washington and was the recipient of many awards and honors. This is her first solo exhibition in the State of South Dakota.

"Traditional stories and Pueblo beliefs have always played an important part of the creation of my imagery, which is an abstract interpretation. For me, as a Native artist, fragmentation of certain Pueblo iconography allows the painting to have multiple layers of pigmentation and information. This process gives me the opportunity to go back into the painting or drawing and scrape away certain areas, leaving in its place a ghost-like transparency. It is my belief that in this mysterious place of birth, death, and rebirth, live deities which remain my inspiration and a reflection of a prayer." - De Haven Solimon Chaffins

The Sioux Indian Museum, managed by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, U.S. Department of the Interior, is located in The Journey Museum at 222 New York Street, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701. For admission fees and hours of operation call 605-394-6923.

De Haven Solimon Chaffins
De Haven Solimon Chaffins

image of artwork by De Haven Solimon Chaffins - 'Under the Influences of Tradition and Ceremony'
Antelope Landscape 2007
Acrylic on canvas,
12" x 12"


image of artwork by De Haven Solimon Chaffins - 'Under the Influences of Tradition and Ceremony'
Jacob's Ladder 2008
Acrylic on canvas,
8" x 10"


image of artwork by De Haven Solimon Chaffins - 'Under the Influences of Tradition and Ceremony'
Zuni Pueblo Landscape 2007
Acrylic on canvas,
18" x 24"


image of artwork by De Haven Solimon Chaffins - 'Under the Influences of Tradition and Ceremony'
Continuation of a Prayer 2007
Acrylic on canvas,
2 1/2' x 3'


image of artwork by De Haven Solimon Chaffins - 'Under the Influences of Tradition and Ceremony'
Corn Grinding Song 2007
Acrylic on wood,
12" x 16"

 

 

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Indian Arts and Crafts Board
U.S. Department of Interior
1849 C. Street, N.W.
MS 2528-MIB
Washington, DC 20240
Telephone: (202) 208-3773
Toll Free: (888) ART-FAKE
Fax: (202) 208-5196
E-mail: iacb@ios.doi.gov
Director: Meridith Z. Stanton
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