Tony Da (b.1940, deceased)
Tony Da was the grandson of Maria Martinez and the son of Papovi Da (1921-1971). In his early years he worked as a painter of Pueblo Indian life and events. In 1967, working under the encouragement of his grandmother, he tried his hands at black pottery. While he started with traditional plates and bowls, he also ventured into other three-dimensional creative methods and forms. His first exhibition was the Arts and Crafts Fair held in Old Town Albuquerque, where he co-exhibited with Maria. The Fair Judges loved his works and awarded him Blue Ribbons for several of his pieces. It was at this show that Tony introduced his three-dimensional black bear with the life-line. He later extended this new sculpturing to his famous turquoise-decorated and sienna-color bowls, plates, bears, and other figures.
Of Tony Da and another famous artist, Joseph Stacey in the May 1974 issue of Arizona Highways wrote "In our generation Tony Da and Joseph Lonewolf are the precursors of a new wave of humans who beat the odds in achieving greatness with nothing more than their individual humanism and the basic natural elements of clay, water and fire."
Unfortunately, Tony Da was killed in a motorcycle accident in 19xy.
As a consequence, his exquisite sculpture pottery are few in number and
highly sought by collectors. Only occassionally does one find a piece in
a Santa Fe art shop or elsewhere.
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