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SWAIA Traditional Arts Program

SWAIA Establishes New Program to Protect and Preserve Traditional Native Jewelry

SWAIA is proud to announce the creation of the Traditional Arts Program, a newly established educational program that will serve as a platform to ensure the sustainability and future of traditional Native Arts in New Mexico. The program creates advocacy and accessibility of the artist's voice. The recipients will be spokespeople for Native arts, traditional arts and the deep cultural heritage of New Mexico. The artists will speak to audiences regarding the importance and continuity of Native Arts. They will also share ideas with other artists about the values and principles of being an Indian Market artist and maintaining high standards for quality and authenticity.

ConocoPhillips Traditional Jewelry Award

A major sponsor and supporter of the SWAIA Traditional Arts Program is ConocoPhillips, which has established the “ConocoPhillips Traditional Jewelry Award.” The award will distinguish jewelers who adhere to Indian Market standards in jewelry-making techniques and materials.


This year’s winner of the “ConocoPhillips Traditional Jewelry Award” is Darryl Dean Begay. Darryl’s unique style of jewelry is rich in Navajo culture. Darryl is preserving his heritage by learning techniques such as Tufa Casting from his uncle, Bobby Begay, Lapidary inlay and fabrication from his mentor, Raymond C. Yazzie and becoming well-known for his knowledge of turquoise. He has created a niche in the Native Art world by mastering and combining the techniques of Tufa Casting and Lapidary inlay and fabrication. Darryl creates one master piece at a time using only the best material, his skill and craftsmanship has made his hand made jewelry sought after world wide.

"It is an honor to be an ambassador of traditional jewelry and it is very important to continue traditional jewelry as it is a way of life"- Darryl Dean Begay


ConocoPhillips is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Southwest Association for Indian Arts to support the recognition and development of Native American Arts. As the largest producer of oil and gas in New Mexico, ConocoPhillips and its heritage companies have been doing business on and around Tribal Lands since the 1950s.

ConocoPhillips and their 700 employees in New Mexico value the unique and long-standing culture of each Native Tribe as a vital part of the communities in the state. This contribution reflects their appreciation for the heritage of these individual cultures and for the diverse population in New Mexico. Click here for more information about ConocoPhillips.

About the SWAIA Traditional Arts Program
The SWAIA Traditional Program creates advocacy and accessibility for the artist’s voice. The recipients will be a spokespeople for Native arts, traditional arts and the deep cultural heritage of New Mexico.