June 09, 2008

From Apache playing cards to Zozobra

Art at Casino Arizona is a cultural jackpotA deck of cards inside a casino isn't typically a big surprise, but most aren't hand-painted on rawhide and don't date back to 1870.

Just off the noisy Casino Arizona casino floor at Loop 101 and McKellips Road, where the slot machines chime as they drop coins, sit 40 authentic Apache playing cards encased and mounted in two cases on the wall.
More art on display at the casino:In a room mere feet away is a small ceramic statue of Zozobra, made by Virgil Ortiz, an artist from Cochiti Pueblo in northern New Mexico. Zozobra is a 50-foot-tall marionette burned annually to kick off the Santa Fe Fiestas, an event ongoing for nearly 300 years.

On display nearby is a basket woven in 1998 with yucca, bear grass and devil's claw by Annie Antone, of Arizona's Tohono O'odham Nation. Woven in black are several flute-playing Kokopelli figures and music notes accenting the basket.

Don Tenoso's ornate "Mountain Spirit Dancers Crank Toy" features five 3-inch-tall native dancers fitted in full, traditional garb. They stand atop a platform that, when cranked, causes them to dance rhythmically.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.

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