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Velarde, Pablita 1918-

VELARDE, Pablita 1918-

PERSONAL: Born September 19, 1918, in Santa Clara, NM; daughter of Herman (a storyteller) and Marianita Velarde; married Herbert Hardin, 1942, (divorced, 1959); children: Helen, Herbert Jr. Education: St. Catherine's Indian School, Santa Fe, NM; Santa Fe Indian School, 1932.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Clear Light Publishers, 823 Don Diego, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

CAREER: Artist, lecturer, teacher, illustrator, and author. Muralist, commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM, Bandelier National Monument (also artist-in-residence), and Santa Clara Day School.

AWARDS, HONORS: First-place honors, All American Indian Days, Sheridan, Wyoming, Trail of Tears Show, Cherokee National Museum, Tahlequah, Oklahoma; Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonies, Galiup, New Mexico, (four times), and Indian Market, Santa Fe (seven times, including the Helen Hardin Award); Palmes d'Academiques (France), 1954; New Mexico Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.


Old Father, The Storyteller, Clear Light Publishers (Santa Fe, NM), 1989.

SIDELIGHTS: Pablita Velarde was born into a Pueblo family in Santa Clara, New Mexico in 1918. In 1924, she was sent to an Indian boarding school in Santa Fe, as were most young Indian children during that time period. At the age of fourteen, Velarde began to study at the first art school for Native Americans, which was part of the Santa Fe Indian School. It was there that she realized her talent as an artist. Though separated from her family, Velarde spent summers with her grandmother, a medicine woman. From her, she learned about the traditional customs and art of her people. Her father was a Native storyteller and from him, she learned her people's myths and legends. All of this deeply influenced Velarde's artwork.

After graduating from the Indian School in 1936, Velarde began teaching art at the Santa Clara Day School in her hometown. She was soon commissioned to paint murals, one in Albuquerque, and a collection for the Park Service of New Mexico in the Bandelier National Monument Visitor's Center. Her murals portrayed the daily lives of traditional Pueblo Indians, including religious ceremonies, basket and drum making, divisions of labor and the political aspects of ancient Pueblos.

Though a celebrated and well-known artist, Velarde is best known for the book she wrote and illustrated in 1989, Old Father, The Storyteller. It is a collection of her father's tales, complemented by her own artwork.



Native North American Artists, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.


Art Journal, spring, 1994, Sally Hyer, interview with Pablita Velarde, p. 61.

Publishers Weekly, November 27, 1995, "Modern by Tradition: American Indian Painting in the Studio Style," p. 61.*

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