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The Symbolism and Significance of Regional Birds, Seen through the Eyes of Two Artists and Two Cultures

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Dr. Isabelle Collins,
Platter, talavera ceramic;
Shonto Begay,
Disturbance in Blue (detail), Acrylic on Canvas

The 2017 Annual Gala Lecture Series

Please join us on March 18th for a special presentation focusing on the interpretation of birds in the arts of Native American and Mexican culture. Shonto Begay, celebrated Navajo artist and story teller, and Dr. Isabelle Collins, art historian and master Talavera ceramist, will share their compelling passion about the role of birds in their art.

A reception will follow with festive Sonoran-inspired refreshments and the opportunity to purchase work from Shonto Begay, Dr. Collins, and other vendors in a mini marketplace, featuring tastes from Cheri’s Desert Harvest’s organic flavors from the fruits of the Southwest.

1:30-2:00 p.m.
2:00-3:00 p.m.
Warden Oasis Theater, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2021 North Kinney Rd. Tucson, Arizona
3:00-4:30 p.m.


Thank you so much for your interest, there are no more seats available for this event.

Please follow the Special Event Signage for Parking and Entry. All entry is through the Special Events gate, you must display your ticket to enter. Admission is free with your ticket.


Dr. Isabelle Collins

Isabelle Collins at work

Talavera ceramicist; Puebla, Mexico
Dr. Collins is a renowned artist and international lecturer on the dynamic history of Majolica and Talavera pottery from its origins in the 9th Century through its introduction to Mexico in the 16th century, to the present production of handmade treasures using 400-year old techniques. She was the featured artist at the 2014 Heard Museum Spanish Market with her collection of reproduction pottery from Enrique L. Ventosa, the originals which are currently housed in different museums including the Metropolitan and Franz Meyer in Mexico City. These pieces show the art nouveau influence he brought with him from his travels around the world to Puebla at the end of the 19th century. Señor Ventosa is considered to be the father of the revival of this lovely art that is Majolica. Dr. Collins is currently writing two books on Majolica Poblana and spends her time between Mexico and Arizona.

Shonto Begay

Shonto Begay at work

Navajo artist and story teller, Arizona
Born in a hogan and raised on Dineh’ land, known as the Navajo Nation, Shonto Begay began professionally writing, illustrating and painting in 1983. His work captures the striking beauties of a traditional Navajo upbringing and the harsh realities of modern reservation life. Represented in galleries and museums worldwide, he was one of 16 children. His mother is a traditional Navajo rug weaver from the Bitter Water Clan and his father was a medicine man born to the Salt Clan. Shonto grew up herding sheep in Kletha Valley, located in Shonto, Arizona. His acrylic paintings are done in a series of small brush strokes that repeat like the words of a traditional Navajo blessing prayer. Images harken heartfelt childhood memories and resonate the constant struggle for balance and harmony with humankind and the Earth.

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