Wabanaki artists win



PHOENIX, Ariz. — Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot, won Best of Division in Traditional Baskets and Best of Class in Baskets at the 58th annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, which draws nearly 15,000 visitors and more than 600 American Indian artists.

George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, won first place in Non-Traditional Basketry and Emma Soctomah, Passamaquoddy, won Best in Classification in Junior Division-Baskets.

Sockbeson apprenticed with Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, in 2004 and learned the history, techniques and art that has become modern Native basketry. Soon thereafter, museums and collectors across the country began to recognize her incredible talent.

Neptune has been making baskets since he was four years old. At 20 years old, he was awarded the title of Master Basketmaker by the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, making him the youngest person ever to receive the title.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a Wabanaki artist,” said Neptune, an educator at the Abbe Museum. “I hope it will inspire other Wabanaki people, especially youth, to take pride in our culture and practice our traditions – because when you do, beautiful things happen.”

Soctomah is one of the youngest basketmakers in the Wabanaki tribes and began weaving with her brother, George Neptune, at five years old. Now her brother’s formal apprentice, Soctomah already has received national recognition for her work.

Other Wabanaki artists invited to attend the fair were Abbe Museum Trustees Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, and David Moses Bridges, Passamaquoddy, Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy, Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, Gal Tomah, Passamaquoddy, and Theresa Secord, Penobscot. A complete list of winners can be found at http://heard.org/event/fair-2016/.

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