The virtual display of the Santa Fe Indian Market went viral this year. This event usually accommodates Indigenous artists in Mexico from all over North America. These artists show up with their authentic work and reserve hundreds of booths. This event had a quite different but real display to attract the audience towards it. Held in August, this event had a wide range of shoppable online marketplace containing several indigenous articles and a virtual fashion show. This fashion show exhibited the contributions of almost seven Indigenous designers, including veteran Dine designer Orlando Dugi. The event successfully displayed the range of articles having a combination of traditional craft adorned with modern finishing. All the displayed articles were complementing the ideology of real indigenous designs.

Contributions of Skawennati

Among a number of displays, a Mohawk artist based in Montreal Canada stood out of the line unexceptionally. She has been producing her multimedia fabulous crafts for the past 18 years. Her extraordinary virtual work consists of futuristic digital worlds, films, and avatars with an unmatchable indigenous twist. Her work showcases her characters in traditional outfits like ribbon shirts and more. Her work majorly focuses on imagining the future of Indigenous people as she is pretty concerned about the future of her nation.

Virtual Online World of Skawennati

In order to honor the Indigenous students and maintain their culture through technology, Skawennati has partnered with AbTeC to create a virtual world of research bank. AbTeC stands for Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace that aims to design workshops to teach Indigenous youth the use of digital tools to tell their stories. Skawennati has diverse skills in designing digital avatars by using software known as Second Life to make get them to life. In order to make her avatars wearing Indigenous attire, she visualizes 3D clothing by using the software, Marvelous Designer.

Skawennati’s role in the Santa Fe Indian Market Show

While taking part in the Santa Fe Indian Market Show, Skawennati wished to do something different and memorable. Then, she came up with an idea of real-life clothing. She thought to design stuff for models of different ages walking down the runway, wearing different sizes and colors while smiling. To convert her thoughts into reality she used, camouflage and calico textiles to make the ribbon shirts. She then used nontraditional ways and spared the ribbons to spread all the way down to the floor- as a symbolic move. The artist feels that ribbons represent her native traditions from past till present. She finds them representing their existence, resistance, and, connection to joy and multiplication.

Future Aspirations of Skwaennati

Skwaennati had never a ribbon shirt for her own self and the decision to design a whole collection of them appeared as a full-circle moment for the artist. Since her father was white, hence she didn’t find herself native enough to own a ribbon shirt. She will be displaying the collection of eight ribbon shirts which she presented at the Santa Fe market. She aims to further expand the concept of indigenous attires in the future. The models appear in visual runway representation designed by Skwaennati will be carrying activism displays like, “Water is Life” or “No More Stolen Sisters”. These signs will showcase the current epidemic of lost and killed Indigenous women. She believes that the way she imagines the collection is what to wear while hosting some manifestations and protests. She says that by making such hand-made, tangible products virtually, she just feels to have her avatars with her physically.

Cover Image by art_inthecity/flickr

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I am Nimra Babar. Naturally, I am a logophile person who is extremely interested about words and on the behalf of this nature, I am passionate about reading, writing, speaking and learning. Four elements which I keep constant in both my professional and personal life include fair intention, ownership, hard work and loyalty. I hope you will find my content brightening your life like a mirror reflecting sunshine to glow the whole room.

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