Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

MoCNA Celebrates 40; T.C. Cannon Estate Sale; Fashion Show and More

Santa Fe, NM | Aug 13, 2012 –

In 1972, a former Museum of New Mexico employee took a job at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) at its former home, the present grounds of the Santa Fe Indian School, and opened the first exhibition. With the help of IAIA student volunteers, Chuck Dailey organized student work and various beadwork, jewelry, paintings, pottery and sculptures for the inaugural exhibition, Earth Colors.

Since then, the IAIA Museum, now known as the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, has become one of the country’s leading museums for exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the most progressive work of contemporary Native artists. After a move to historic downtown Santa Fe in 1992 and an extensive 13-year renovation, the museum is now a venue for exhibitions of artists who merit local, national and international recognition. Nearly 7,500 works of art have been collected from alumni, present students, faculty, staff and other artists for its permanent collections.

Please join the museum as it celebrates 40 years at 4 p.m. August 17. Several free events have been planned, including five exhibition openings, a fashion show and live paints at MoCNA during Santa Fe Indian Market weekend.


Other events include:

T.C. Cannon Pops at MoCNA: Pai-doung-u-day

He was just a teenager when he enrolled in the new art high school for Native Americans in the Southwest. When Tommy Wayne Cannon arrived at IAIA in 1964, “T.C.” as his friends called him, soon developed his own unique style, using vibrant color and making social and political statements, reflecting the times.

Nude with Flying Hair
Pen on Paper
T.C. Cannon 

Compared with Van Gogh of Native American art, Cannon (Kiowa/Caddo), who was given the indigenous name Pai-doung-u-day, which translates into One Who Stands In The Sun, pushed the realm of artistic expression of Native people. 

“Let me say that an Indian painting is any painting that’s done by an Indian. Today, however, I really don’t think there is really no such thing as an Indian painting. People don’t call a work by Picasso a Spanish painting-they call it a Picasso. I have something to say about experience that comes out of being an Indian. But it is also a lot bigger than just my race,” wrote Cannon, also a poet and prophetic thinker, before his death in 1978.

The T.C. Cannon Estate will have an estate sale featuring more than three dozen original sketches, watercolors, wood cuts, limited signed prints, and other mixed media created by Cannon. The Cannon Estate will also share items with the Lloyd Kiva New Gallery in the MoCNA store, which will part of an exhibition August 17 – September 17.

The opening reception for T.C. Cannon Pops at MoCNA: Pai-doung-u-day estate sale and exhibition will be at 5 p.m. August 16. Other T.C. Cannon events include:

  • 1 p.m. August 18 – A discussion, Re-Thinking T.C. Cannon, with his former classmates, Richard Ray Whitman, Sherman Chaddlesone, Joy Harjo and Kevin Red Star
  • 3 p.m. August 18 – Joyce Cannon Yi, author of My Determined Eye; and Joan Frederick, author of T. C. Cannon, He stood in the Sun, will have book signings.


Fashion Heat, Live Paints and Biennale of Sydney Panel

MoCNA presents an eclectic fashion show, FASHION HEAT, featuring modern and innovative styles mixed with Native creative glamour. Designers include Pilar Agoyo, Orlando Dugi, Connie Tsosie-Gaussoin, David Gaussoin, Wayne Nez Gaussoin, Dorothy Grant, Sun Rose Iron Shell, Patricia Michaels, Jamie Okuma and Consuelo Pascual. FASHION HEAT starts at 6 p.m. August 17 MoCNA’s Allan Houser Art Park.

In addition to a fashion show, MoCNA will have live paints on the portal, talks and music through the weekend, including a panel discussion on the Sydney Biennale, one of the largest biennial international contemporary arts festivals in the world held in Sydney, Australia. The discussion, “All Our Relations,” will be with Gerald McMaster, IAIA alumni and 2012 Sydney Biennale co-artistic director, and Patsy Phillips, MoCNA director, at 3 p.m. August 18. 


All museum openings, exhibitions and events during Indian Market weekend are free and open to the public in celebration of MoCNA’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about the exhibitions or events, go to MoCNA’s event calendar at For more information about the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, go to

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