Powell MuseumPowell Museum - Page, Arizona

Home » Exhibits » Past Exhibits

Painting by Serena Supplee, former featured artist at the Powell Museum

Past Exhibits

Learn about some of our past exhibits.

Navajo weaving now and throughout history has been perhaps the most valued and sought after textile product of the American Southwest. The aesthetic beauty, unique stylistic changes, and sensible use of Navajo woven textiles combine to make them magnificent pieces of functional art. In many ways, weaving reflects the adaptation, survival, and transformation of a people.

The weavers who lived and traded near Dinnébito, Arizona, were incredibly adaptive. Their work reflects the changing needs and demands of the market over time. The industrious and innovative nature of the weavers, as well as encouragement from Elijah Blair and Dinnébito Trading Post staff, led to the progression of designs and styles. rugUnlike many well-known weaving communities which developed a single style such as Ganado and Two Grey Hills, the Dinnébito weavers skillfully weaved a variety of styles using the same traditional techniques and processes to create spectacular, award-winning textiles.

This temporary exhibit celebrates the artistic development, diversity of textiles, and industrious nature of the Navajo weavers at Dinnébito Trading Post from the 1960s through the 1990s. The exhibit highlights the remarkable transition from striped saddle blankets to intricately woven designs from the Elijah Blair Family collection. Weavers Sadie Cardy, Rose Dan Begay, Eunice Manson, Etta Woody, Lena Woody, Mary Shepherd, Sandy Nez, and Faye Furcap Begay are represented in the exhibit, which will be on display at the Powell Museum from April 2013 through March 2014.

Elijah BlairElijah Blair began his career in the 1940s at Toadlena Trading Post, Mexican Water Trading Post, and Aneth Trading Post. In 1960, Elijah purchased Dinnébito Trading Post located northwest of the Hopi mesas. He and his wife Claudia currently own Blair's Dinnébito Trading Post in Page, Arizona, and the Blair family continues to support weavers and other Native American artisans from the Four Corners region.

Thirty years of living on — and loving — the Colorado Plateau serve as the inspiration for Serena Supplee’s artwork. Her passionate palette explores the intensity of Grand Canyon colors when half a rock is in sunlight and the rock wall behind it is in shadow. These are exciting moments to capture on paper.

Serena has developed a personal expression that no photograph can portray. To become better at sketching first impressions, she gave away her camera in 1981, and used her eyes rather than a camera lens to capture the feeling of the moment. Her watercolors and oils portray the height, might, and majesty of the canyons and the moods of the river — from quiet eddies to rambunctious rapids. Serena also constructs sandstone-inspired sculptures and paints geometric landscapes that are woven into rugs by Navajo weavers.

Painting by Serena SuppleeOriginally from Iowa, Serena moved to Arizona and earned her BFA at Northern Arizona University in 1981. After graduating, Serena moved to Moab, spending 8 years as a guide on the Colorado, Green, and San Juan rivers. She has rowed her own boat through the Grand Canyon many times, often spending 3 weeks on the river out of touch with civilization. Since 1995, Serena retreats to Phantom Ranch every January to paint in the depths of the Canyon and create a t-shirt design for the Ranch. In 2006, she completed a series of paintings focused on the rapids and the Inner Gorge of the Grand Canyon. Her first book, “Inner Gorge Metaphors,” features 52 of these paintings with original poems. Serena is currently working on a new series that begins with the temples of the Grand Canyon and leads into places of sanctuary. This series will be featured at the Powell Museum from March 2012 through February 2013.

Visit Serena’s website to learn more about her work.

The Lost Tracks exhibit - dinosaur tracks discovered at Lake PowellOver the past several years, the rate of discovery of fossilized dinosaur footprints around Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has increased dramatically! Beginning in 2000, a prolonged drought caused lake levels to fall, finally reaching a record low in the spring of 2005 — almost 145 feet below “full pool” — providing access to tracks that had previously been covered with water. Hundreds of new sites and thousands of trackways were discovered.

Andre Delgalvis, a commercial photographer specializing in nature and landscape photography, began finding dinosaur tracks at Lake Powell in 2003. Since then, he has been involved in a project to find and document fossilized footprints around the lake. His work has been featured in Arizona Highways and in a PBS special called “Under Arizona.” Andre works closely with GCNRA staff and paleontologists such as Dr. Martin Lockley to study and document the trackways.

The Powell Museum hosted the first public exhibition devoted solely to the Lake Powell track project in 2010. The exhibit was made possible through a partnership with GCNRA, the Friends of the Page Public Library, and a Teen Advisory Group who generously loaned items and donated funding for the exhibit. Andre Delgalvis’ photographs — along with fossilized trackways, casts, and tracings — were on display through January 2012.

A poet, painter, and printmaker: Everett Ruess (1914–1934?) explored the Southwest and recorded its sights and sounds, and his rapture for its beauty in his journals, letters and artwork. From the age of 16, alone with his mules or horses and sometimes a dog for company, he tramped through southern California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, working the occasional odd job or trading his artwork for supplies.

It was not unusual for young men to leave their homes to ease the family burden during the early 1930s; it was the height of the Great Depression. But for Everett, it was a wanderlust driven by a yearning to know himself, his world, and his place in that world. Living on the edge of history, making moments and discoveries, he brushed elbows with the great and the common. Every new adventure he embraced with a young man’s curiosity and old spirit’s wisdom. And true to his camper’s creed, “When I go, I will leave no trace,” he took care of the natural beauty that he loved, and preserved it in his writings and art.

In 1934, Everett Ruess disappeared into the canyon country of the southwest, never to be heard from again. The young man’s unique life and his strange disappearance continue to haunt the minds of those who know his story and inspire theories of his fate.

The Powell Museum hosted a special exhibit exploring Ruess’ life travels and art, including several block prints made from carvings found in his brother’s greenhouse many years after his disappearance.

The Office of Indian Education of the U.S. Department of Education sponsored the national Native American Student Artist Competition, an annual event that celebrates the values and documents the successes of education in American Indian and Alaska native communities. By hosting the annual competition, the OIE hopes to inspire students to explore the connections between their education and native culture through art and writing.

The competition was open to all American Indian and Alaska Native students in grades pre-Kindergarten through 12th. Submissions were judged in six different grade levels. Prizes were awarded to first-, second-, and third-place winners in both art and writing categories, and a certificate of participation was sent to each student. The winning entries will tour the U.S. in a special exhibition, which includes 21 matted and framed art pieces and a book of essays.

The exhibit will travel to several other venues including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Oklahoma History Center, Chicago Children’s Museum, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More information about the winning entries and past and future competitions can be found on the Native American Student Artist Competition web site.

Originally done as an oral history project by Wingate High School students, this exhibit traces the story of the famed U.S. Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers. It begins with the original pilot group of first 29 volunteers, who in 1942, developed and tested the original Navajo code. Proven fast and accurate, the Marine Corps recruited nearly 400 more Navajos who used the code to send and receive encrypted messages throughout the Pacific island-hopping campaign. The ingenuity of the Navajo Code Talkers baffled Japanese cryptographers and greatly helped in the effort to win the war in the Pacific.

The traveling exhibit displays more than 33 historic photographs with text; facsimiles of original, military WW II documents; a c.1940 map of the Navajo Reservation; and the (now declassified) Navajo Code itself. In addition, the full-length documentary, “Navajo Code Talkers” by the Arts & Entertainment / History Channel will be running during open gallery hours.

This exhibition is produced and circulated by the Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project, Gallup, New Mexico. The 2008–2009 exhibit tour is made possible through funding from the Arizona Humanities Council and Salt River Project.

Rainbow Bridge has been known to indigenous peoples of the southwest for hundreds of years. The first publicized sighting of Rainbow Bridge, however, did not occur until August 14, 1909. On this date, two groups of Anglo explorers — the Cummings-Douglass party and their Paiute guides Jim Mike and Nasja Begay — “discovered” the natural bridge. Less than a year later, on May 30, 1910, President William H. Taft issued a proclamation that designated 160 acres surrounding the bridge as Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

The exhibit, Beyond the Rainbow, highlights a sampling of an important collection of photos, letters, diaries, and memorabilia kept by James Hanks from his 1927 and 1928 trips to Rainbow Bridge. The expeditions, led by well-known anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn, were archaeological, anthropological, and ethnographic, dedicated to researching the cultures of northern Arizona and southern Utah. As expedition photographer, James Hanks took hundreds of photographs chronicling the ecology, geology, and people of the area. Nearly 100 years later, James Hanks’ son, Tom Hanks, returned to the exact spot his father had stood in 1927–28 and recreated the photographs using virtual repeat photography.

The 1927–28 expedition discoveries and adventures are described in Kluckhohn’s book, Beyond the Rainbow, published in 1933, and are recounted in the exhibit of the same name displayed at the Powell Museum. The traveling exhibit was created by Northern Arizona University Cline Library.

On loan to the Powell Museum from the Grand Staircase-Escalanté National Monument, this exhibit focuses on the mystery of the life and death of dinosaurs, new clues about dinosaur migration and species distribution, and ongoing scientific research in the Colorado Plateau region. The GSENM has yielded many world-class dinosaur fossils, several previously unknown to science. Highlighted in the exhibit is a replica skull of a new genus and species of chasmosaurine dinosaur, which was found by Mike Getty, Collections Manager of the Utah Museum of Natural History. The horned ceretopsian skull, which is approximately 7 feet long by 3.5 feet high, was excavated in the northern area of the Kaiparowits Plateau, in sediments of the Kaiparowits Formation, which date to between 74 and 76 million years old.

Known among the Navajo people as Azdaz Nasalid Naka, “the woman who carries the rainbow,” Claudine Morrow has been painting the people of Northern Arizona since 1957. Claudine studied her palette, craftsmanship, and technique with C.R. Read in Fresno, California, and noted Hungarian artist Oden Hullenkramer while in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Returning to her early childhood home near Page, she continues her lifelong pursuit of painting. Morrow is well known for her portrait paintings; however, she now applies her knowledge of timeless classic techniques to a wider range of subjects such as local landscapes and southwestern-inspired still-life compositions. This art exhibit showcased a selection of Claudine Morrow’s oil paintings, including several recently completed works.

Join the Powell Museum

“The elements that unite to make the Grand Canyon the most sublime spectacle in nature are multifarious and exceedingly diverse.”

—John Wesley Powell

Follow Powell Museum on Facebook