NaNa Ping -
Recognized as a talented Native American Contemporary Jeweler, NaNa Ping's numerous awards have established his work as outstanding lapidary artistry. He has an exceptional reputation for creating cutting-edge modern inlay jewelry. His extensive knowledge of stone cutting — such as turquoise, sugalite, coral and jade — comes from the many years of working on his lapidary skills. His advanced techniques allow him to be versatile and creative. He incorporates his talent of lapidary and dramatically transforms and creates the exquisite inlay for which he is recognized in jewelry artistry today.
His designs are original, hand-made works of art. Each piece is an original, one-of-a-kind creation. He works with both gold and silver using the finest and rarest quality natural stones from all over the world. Many jewelry items are on display throughout the world, in museums and private collections, along with many galleries throughout North America, Australia and Europe.
He has recieved many awards for his jewelry designs. In 1997 he was awarded the prestigious SWAIA Fellowship Award for Excellence in American Indian Art. His awards and venues are numerous: The Smithsonian National
Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C. and New York City), Museum of Arizona, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (recently awarded in May 2008, the prestigious purchase award for the permanent collection), Heard Museum, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Museum of Indian arts and Culture, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
He is an advocate for authenticity in Native American art. He participates in several art organizations that promote the cultural significance and preservation of authenticity values.
He was the president of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, IACA, which promotes authentic Native American art and provides opportunities for artists to find national and international venues to sell their art. He served as vice president and board member of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, SWAIA, which is the premier organization in the U.S.A. for promoting the finest in Native American art and hosting the annual Santa Fe Indian Market.
NaNa Ping is also a strong advocate of sharing his knowledge by teaching jewelry classes at the POEH Art Center, which is a cultural preservation learning institution for the Pueblo people in Northern New Mexico. As a strong believer of sharing knowledge, he has participated in several cultural exchange programs in Australia to teach lapidary art. He also coordinated several Aborigine exchanges to participate in the Santa Fe Indian Market to experience the American Indian culture in New Mexico.
In 2004, he was honored by special invitation to participate in the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. There he exhibited his work with 35 leading Native American artists who were selected from across the nation. He continues to participate with the National Museum of the American Indian for presentations and demonstrations of his work.
NaNa Ping has generations of family that were jewelry in layers. His lifelong inspirations come from his uncles who were master cutters and jewelers. His paternal family includes decedents of the ancient Mayan culture.
NaNa Ping in an enrolled tribal member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe from the Village of Guadalupe, located outside of Tempe, Arizona. His cultural beliefs and ties to his family and tribal elders continue to be intuitively strong. He draws heavily from his heritage to create his unique style jewelry. Yaqui elders tell of the traditions of their origin, which speak of the Pascua Yaqui people coming from the stars to live where they are today. Many of NaNa Ping's jewelry pieces detail the universe with stars and planets in the inner-beauty jewelry he creates. (Jewelry pieces that depict these symbols on the inside of his jewelry pieces, also depicting that beauty comes from within).
While initiating his career in art, he studied business at the University of New Mexico and earned a bachelor's degree in business. He also spent many years in the graphic and printing business, but always maintained his passion for creating and designing jewelry.
He is grateful for the traditions that he carries and honors his ancestors for the talent they inspired. His grandfather was a medicine man with a strong intuitive nature and strong in his cultural beliefs.
NA Na Ping lives with his family on the Nambe Pueblo reservation. When he came to live with the Tewa people. His wife's grandfather, in ceremony, gave him his Indian name NaNa Ping, which translates to Aspen Mountain. Each of his unique pieces of jewelry is hallmarked NaNa Ping on the inside.
NaNa Ping – Michael Garcia