Eddie Basha Collection to be donated to two metro Phoenix museums
October 20, 2023
Gila River Indian News
The Basha family, founders of one of Arizona’s largest grocery chains, will donate the late Eddie Basha’s Collection of fine art, including American Indian and Western American art, to the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. The Basha family officially announced the move at the Basha Gallery located at the Basha’s Support Center in South Chandler on Monday, Oct. 9.
Edward “Eddie” Najeeb Basha Jr. was the chairman and CEO of Basha’s Inc., Arizona’s family-owned grocery store company. The small company expanded to 160 stores across Arizona, becoming integral to many diverse communities. In 1971, under the encouragement of his aunt Zelma Basha, Eddie began collecting art. He grew up captivated by the American West and gravitated toward Western art genres. He also built the gallery to house all of it and welcomed the public to see his art pieces free of charge.
The donation gift comprises more than 2,000 works of art that span three centuries, including rare and important examples of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, katsina dolls, and basketry from the Akimel O’otham, Tohono O’odham, Yavapai, Apache, Hopi, and Navajo tribes. Pieces of art from members of the Cowboy Artists of America and many other artists are also featured in the collection.
In March of 2013, Eddie Basha Jr. passed away. The Raley’s Company purchased the Basha chain in 2021, and now the massive art collection requires a new home.
“My family and I are delighted to make this gift to the Heard Museum and Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West. We are confident that these two world-class institutions will be excellent partners in fulfilling Eddie’s wish to continue to share the collection and have it remain in Arizona,” said Nadine Basha, Basha’s widow.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis also attended and discussed the mutual respect between Basha and local tribes.
“The Gila River Indian Community has a long history with the Basha family. Eddie Basha had such a deep understanding of the culture,” said Gov. Lewis.
The collection will remain at its Chandler location through Nov. 30 before moving to their new homes in Phoenix and Scottsdale.