My husband and I made our every two years or so trip to New Mexico and visited museums and galleries. I found this quote at The Indian Arts and Culture Museum ( made me think about how we define “art” and how, in this western culture at least, we tend to almost fetishize art by placing it in institutional settings and charging people to look and marvel. What follows is another perspective:

The word “art” is not found in our language. But what do we call a piece of work created by the hands of my family? What will we call that piece which embodies the life of its creator? What will it be if it has a life and a soul, while its maker sings and prays for it?

In my home we call it pottery painted with designs to tell a story. In my mother’s house, we call it a wedding basket, to hold blue corn meal for the groom’s family. In my grandma’s place, we call it a Kachina doll, a carved image of a life force that holds the Hopi world in place.

We make pieces of life to see, touch, and feel. Shall we call it art? I hope not. It may lose its soul. Its life. Its people.
Michael Lacapa, Apache/Hopi/Tewa