Visions of Sonwai: Verma Nequatewa
by Annie Osburn
Verma Nequatewa (Hopi, b. 1949) began an apprenticeship with her uncle Charles Loloma around 1966. Nequatewa has signed her distinctive work with the Hopi feminine word for beauty, Sonwai, since 1989. It complements her uncle?s name, which was the masculine word with the same meaning. Nequatewa worked with her uncle for more than twenty years. In that time she not only learned specific jewelry-making techniques but she also learned to distinguish quality stones and to develop a keen design sense. Today, she is recognized as one of the leading Native American lapidary artists. In October 2018, the Heard Museum in Phoenix will begin a five-month exhibition of her work entitled Sonwai: The Jewelry of Verma Nequatewa.