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Ready to Dance

Allan Houser, 1988 (New Mexico, 1914-1994)

Bronze, edition of 6

“My work is about my people’s beauty, their dignity. About showing in my way, what I think of who I am, who they are, and making them proud. In my work, this is what I strive for, this dignity, this goodness that is in Man.”
–Allan Houser

This piece dates from Houser’s most prolific period as a sculptor, from the 1980s to the early 1990s, when he was finally able to devote himself to this craft full-time.

Experimentation with bronze sheet metal and corten steel allowed Houser to produce smooth, rounded forms with a seamless appearance.

The piece reflects Houser’s Apache heritage, and appears to depict an Apache woman preparing to participate in a social dance. Western Apache culture is matrilineal, tracing lines of descent through mothers rather than fathers. Houser has chosen to depict this figure with both elements of romance and whimsy as well as a deep respect.

About the Artist

Allan Houser (Haozous) was the first Indigenous American awarded the National Medal of Arts. His father was a relative of Geronimo, and his family was imprisoned along with other Apache resistance fighters in St. Augustine, Florida for twenty years. Alan was the first child in his family to be born outside captivity.

Learn more about Allan Houser’s remarkable story through this downloadable PDF: Allan Houser – Born in Captivity

This piece is part of the collection at Alnoba. See the full collection or check our upcoming tour schedule.