Among featured contemporary Native artists is world-renowned jeweler Ben Nighthorse
Sorrel Sky Gallery in Santa Fe opens its Native American Group Show on Thursday, August 20, with a reception for the artists from 5:00 to 7:30pm. The show presents new works by contemporary Native American jewelry artists Ben Nighthorse, Ray Tracey, Cody Sanderson, Victoria Adams, Darryl Dean & Rebecca Begay, Shane Hendren, and Santa Clara potter Autumn Borts-Medlock. Collectively, these artists have received distinctions from the most prestigious institutions in America including the National Museum of the American Indian and the Heard Museum to the Smithsonian Institution and the Santa Fe Indian Market.
Northern Cheyenne artist Ben Nighthorse is the senior member of the group, having crafted jewelry for over 50 years. Nighthorse was instrumental in bringing a new aesthetic to Native American jewelry. He was the first Native jeweler to use gold, which was then considered an inappropriate material for Native American jewelry – silver and turquoise were the standard. Nighthorse first received national recognition in 1977 when Arizona Highways featured him on the magazine’s cover. The article inside showcased his unique jewelry designs, along with numerous other Native jewelers, opening the doors for a new, contemporary Native American jewelry aesthetic. To date, Nighthorse has conceived over 600 distinct jewelry designs. “I just make them one at a time,” he humbly offers of his prolific career.
Currently, Nighthorse’s jewelry is featured on the August/September cover of Cowboys & Indians magazine with his sterling silver belt buckle being worn by Cherokee actor Wes Studi. The new design by Nighthorse combines inlaid turquoise with black mother of pearl and features his classic running horse detail on the reverse side. The horse symbolizes ‘freedom’ to the Plains Indians, of which Nighthorse is a member. Nighthorse and his award-winning jewelry are also featured in the August issue of the Santa Fean magazine.
A true renaissance man, Nighthorse is not only a world-renowned jeweler. He is an Olympic athlete, a former world champion horse trainer and the United States Senator from Colorado responsible for establishing the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2004.
Nighthorse has not only had profound impact on Native American jewelry design, he is one of the most influential Native Americans in recent history. In 1992 when Nighthorse was elected to the U.S. Senate, he became the first Native American to serve in that body in 60 years. He is a member of the Council of Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Sorrel Sky Gallery owner, Shanan Campbell Wells, said, “Ben’s jewelry is owned by five presidents and dozens of celebrities across the world. To own a piece of Nighthorse jewelry is to own a piece of history.”
Sorrel Sky Gallery’s fresh approach to Western art presents a select collection of contemporary and traditional fine art and jewelry for the discerning collector. Sorrel Sky Gallery was founded in Durango, CO in 2002 and opened its Santa Fe, NM location in 2014. It represents over 75 painters, sculptors and jewelers including bronze artist Star Liana York, painter Billy Schenck, and Ben Nighthorse, among others.