For more than 20 years, Cowboys & Indians magazine has been one of the most popular publications for people who love and appreciate the Western and Native cultures. The magazine is so popular that people buy and sell past issues online.
One of the most popular issues was the January 1998 issue with Robert Redford on the cover.
That issue featured an article about the Begay and Barber families from the Burnham area who were creating new and exciting Navajo weaving designs.
Cowboys & Indians is a beautiful magazine and one that any gallery would be proud to be featured in. The July issue, which is on the newsstands now, has a wonderful article by Mark Bedor about Toh-Atin and two of our favorite artists. Mark is a Western Heritage Award winning creator and the host of Today’s Wild West, which is a series of short documentary films shown on many PBS stations. He has been writing books and articles about the West for over 15 years.
Bedor has been stopping in the gallery for several years to visit. He always took time to talk with my mother about stories she knew. This last year he came in and my sister Antonia and I spent quite a bit of time with him learning about what he does and sharing stories. A couple of months later he called and said that Cowboys & Indians was interested in a story about the gallery for the July issue, which was going to feature the state of Colorado.
He was particularly interested in a couple of artists we work with. Kevin McCarthy is a nationally recognized bronze sculptor who specializes in Native American subjects.
McCarthy has also taken up oil painting in the last few years. His father, Frank McCarthy, was a member of the Cowboy Artists of America and Kevin grew up watching his dad paint the west. He is having a lot of fun with it and, like he is with his bronzes, his is a perfectionist with his oil paintings.
Kevin is obsessive about accuracy and detail in his work. He has spent hundreds of hours studying anatomy and movement. His depictions, be it of a horse running, a warrior raising a lance, or a dancer extending herself, are precise. You can just feel the effort of the muscles in his sculpture. His paintings reflect the beauty and strength of the sandstone formations that he loves.
The other artist is Marie Begay whose picture was in the magazine with the Robert Redford cover. She is one of the sweetest women we work with and one of the most talented weavers. She and her family have become cherished friends over the many years we have worked together.
Marie weaves using only natural colored wool from her family sheep. She cards and spins it into beautiful soft yarn. Her weavings take months to complete and her dedication to the art, as well as the love she has for her family and the sheep, are amazing.
Many of you have seen the short film on weaving that we show in the gallery. She is the featured artist and Howard Rowe, the film maker, is working on a longer documentary about Marie and the family.
One of Marie’s pieces and some of the film footage will be included in the first major digital museum exhibit now being done by the American Museum of Natural History and the Bard Graduate Center in New York. The exhibit is based around the Museum’s collection of Navajo weaving, much which has never been shown. The film footage of Marie and her family is being used to connect the past and present in Navajo weaving.Because of the restrictions on the Navajo Nation during the pandemic and the issue of language and cell phones, it was not possible for Mark to interview Marie, but he was able to put together a lot of great stories from our conversations. She is a wonderful person, and her family is really excited about her being in Cowboys & Indians!
A funny thing happened as the article was coming together. One day, I received a call from Wendy Wilkinson who identified herself as a writer for Cowboys & Indians. I assumed it was about the story on the gallery and was surprised that she didn’t ask me much about that. Instead, she wanted to know what was so great about Durango and Colorado. That wasn’t a hard question, so I talked away and she eventually said thank you and I forgot about it. It turns out that she was doing a feature in the magazine called “Coloradoans Talk Colorado.”
I have no idea why they called me, but it was a real hoot to be featured with some real well-known residents of the state.I am at the very end, which is appropriate, when you see that the other interviewees are Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Rick “Goose” Gossage, photographer John Fielder, some world class designers, artists, museum curators and rodeo cowboy (and cowgirl) stars!
But it was nice to brag about our corner of the Colorado and it was nice of Wendy to call and ask!And the cover for this issue features movie star Martin Kove who is currently in the Netflix series, Cobra Kai! He was the bad guy coach in the Karate Kid movies!