The Artist Birthday Series

Helen Hardin

Today’s Artist Birthday: Helen Hardin

Helen Hardin (May 28, 1943 – June 9, 1984) (also known as Tsa-sah-wee-eh, which means “Little Standing Spruce”) was an American painter. Creating art was a means of spiritual expression that developed from her Roman Catholic upbringing and Native American heritage. She created contemporary works of art with geometric patterns based upon Native American symbols and motifs, like corn, kachinas, and chiefs. In 1976 she was featured in the PBS American Indian artists series.

helen hardin
Helen Hardin was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the daughter of celebrated Santa Clara Pueblo artist, Pablita Velarde and former police officer and Chief of Public Safety for the US State Department, Herbert Hardin. Her first language was Tewa. She was named Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh and a naming ceremony at the Santa Clara Pueblo about a month after she was born. Hardin was raised by her artistic mother and her family at the Santa Clara Pueblo and she went to school and lived among the Anglo world for much of her life. She saw herself as “Anglo socially and Indian in [her] art.”

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