Organized by Michael Billie
The Navajo Artists Technology Innovation and Vision Enterprise (NATIVE) Project was developed and implemented during the life of the three year grant. The focus of the grant was to improve the quality of life of Native artists living in the Four Corners area. This current new grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA3) is grant that is continuing the support of professional development for Native American artists.
These two grants were awarded to Capacity Builders Inc. The non-profit organization has been serving resource development needs of tribal non-profits and federally recognized tribes of the USA Four Corner’s community since 1995.
Gallery With A Cause invited young Natives from the Four Corners area of the Southwest to take part of the current exhibition at the New Mexico Cancer Center. The list of schools involved are: Navajo Preparatory School, Kirtland High School, Window Rock High School and Gallup High School. The students participating made one painting to be in the exhibition. This is going to be a traveling show; it will be on view at the Gallup Cancer Center from October 2019 to January 2020.
Quotes from participating artists:
I enjoy using the beautiful landscapes of the southwest as well as traditional Navajo designs in my paintings.
- Shawn Ahkeah
Gallup High School
My hobbies include sports, skateboarding, baking and math. My hair is mostly always bushy and there is sometimes food stuck in my braces. I love to wear Indian jewelry.
- Trinity Juan
This art piece is all about things that I embrace and love. I have chosen pink as the main color because that is my favorite color. The people who are in the art piece are people I look up to and embrace.
- Quiency Spencer
I’m from Gallup, New Mexico. I’m 17 years old Acoma/Navajo. I tried to be versatile and learn all different types of mediums. The environment I grew up in encourages me to make beautiful things or to capture the reality of things we turn blind to.
- Daisy Cooke
I am a 15 year old Navajo who goes to high school at Gallup High School. I love music, expecially BTS. I love drawing. My favorite hobby is dancing. I play basketball and volleyball. My role model is Kim Namjoon from BTS.
- Jordan Joe
This is a drawing of an artist named Kim Taehyung and his music focuses on why you should love yourself. Listening to his music has helped me learn to love myself and have confidence. I taught myself to draw portraits and get a few tips from my uncle. I love traveling and the arts in music.
- Nakaya Deschiney
I’m a Navajo in Gallup. I certainly have a passion in the art industry whether it’s drawing or doing something in the digital media. I for sure want make a career out of this because of that passion.
- Katelynn Wilson
I did a watercolor painting of the four seasons adding the colors I feel during those seasons and few negative emotions during those seasons.
- Felisha Lee
Navajo Preparatory School
I’m currently a junior at Navajo Preparatory High School. Throughout my schooling I have been in a couple of art classes and I like art. I see art as a stress reliever and an escape.
- Rasheed Holyan
I’m a junior in high school. I’m 17 years old. I live on the Navajo reservation.
- Tia Morgan
I am 18 years old and a senior at Navajo Prep. I play basketball and volleyball. Art is a get away on some days when I am stressed from school. There are many new things I enjoy trying. Adventures are my thing, open minded train of thought.
- Kariah Wilson
I am a quiet kid with a lot on my mind. I enjoy learning about rockets and astronomy. I like to spend equal amounts of time indoors and outdoors, binge watching my favorite show to riding horses. I am very fond of my peoples culture and would like to come back to the reservation after college and push others to understand what being a Navajo is so they can come back and help their people like myself.
- Owen Yazzie
I come from the Navajo reservation. I believe without our traditional beliefs we would be lost. We dance to be blessed with our ancestors. Our ancestors mold who we are to keep the Navajo teachings alive.
- Cheyanne Begay
I am currently a junior at Navajo Prep. This class would by my first class for participating in art.
- Desiree Begay
I come from a cultural family myself and having my parents there to push me about education and going outside the reservation I something that I can relate to myself. Something unique is that I added in the philosophy of walking in beauty with my road.
- Caitlin Sagg
My name is Shannus Becenti. I’m from Shiprock, New Mexico. I’m 17 years old and come from a small community.
- Shannus Becenti
Window Rock High School
My name is Skye Foster. I’ve never done art before but for my first year I think I’ve really improved. I enjoy painting and working with paint. This painting is my biggest achievement in art and I’m proud of myself.
- Skye Foster
I am Navajo and go to school at Window Rock High School. Although this is my first year in art I really enjoy painting.
- Hannah James
Kirtland High School
What is unique about my work is that my art style changes from time to time.
- Chenoah Henry
I’m not a very good artist but I think my pieces are what I think is unique and thoughtful.
- Jocelynn Jim
I am a junior at Kirtland High School in New Mexico. I’m in Art 1 and my favorite things to do was the watercolor paintings and also doing different techniques in paintings.
- Neveah Nez
The painting was based off the technique and style of Bob Ross. What is unique about my work is it’s simplistic yet has deep meaning.
- Xavier LaMotte
My work is different from other peoples work.
- Lovelia Murphy
My work is dedicated to the cancer patients as an act of love and support.
- Rasheena Bedah
What is unique about my work is how the colors tie together and are similar yet different in their own way.
- Autumn Miller
My name is Ananda Nockideneh and I’m 16 years old. I go to Kirtland Central High School. I like to spend my free time painting and baking in the kitchen.
- Ananda Nockideneh
I am 16 years old junior. I’ve always liked dark nature based art and artistic paintings based on locations that aren’t based on real life. The flower that is the focus of the art is a “cerinthe major purpurascens” which is an usual flower that is not know that well through the public.
- Jerran Begaye
I am 17 years old and I go to Kirtland Central High School. I am in Art 3 and I love painting and acrylic.
- Angelita Lucero
How unique my cat is by taking pictures of him and drawing.
- Mya Henderson
My work depicts traditional Japanese objects.
- Sadie Crawford
It’s unique with pops of color.
- Alexis Sparks
I’m a 17 year old who goes to school at Kirtland Central High School. I’m a junior who loves to draw. I’m half Navajo and Korean. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona and moved to Kirtland, New Mexico two years ago. A scenery outside my uncle’s house. I drew it as a memory of my uncle who recently passed.
- Shauna Clark
I am a student at Kirtland High School. I love to draw. I’ve never really done a portrait ever and this was my first time painting with acrylic paint and selling it. What is unique is I put all the lines on the painting verticle.
- Shauntel BullBear
I use shapes and colors for my design rather then having a variety of pictures. My family has a lot of talented artists.
- Tinelle BullBear
It’s a painting about lungs.
- Jakari McDonald
My unique work is to show the passion of having to inspire my talent.
- Caitlin Tache
It’s going to be unique with different colors and effects.
- Erwina Chee
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I’m a Native American artist working with encaustic. My other love is photography. Most of the colored wax that I work with I make myself. I also incorporate sandpainting sand, beads and horse hairs into my work. These are materials that are used in ceremonies and other traditional events.
I work with both a heat gun and a blowtorch depending on the effect that I’m looking for. I’ve done a few workshops in Santa Fe and another in Tuscon with the International Encaustic Artists Association. I’m showing my work at The Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe and Weyrich Gallery in Albuquerque.
The idea to include bundles in my work came during a moment I had while teaching a workshop on eco-printing at fellow artist Harriette Tsosie’s studio in Albuquerque. We were wrapping silk, plant material and rusty bits in tight bundles to extract the pigment out of the items and imprint them onto the silk. This is done by steaming the tightly wrapped bundles. After steaming a batch we set them on a big white canvas so they could cool down before we unwrapped them. When the bundles were cooling on the canvas I notice how striking the composition looked. They were like a newborn bundled up in a blanket, a gift waiting to be unwrapped, a medicine bag and a secret under protection and never to be revealed. It was a powerful moment of inspiration that I’ll never forget.
A year or so later a friend told me about an old story between the Navajos and the Hopi that involved two sacred bundles. The Navajos had given two sacred bundles to the Hopi in exchange for helping in obtaining freedom from being imprisoned at Fort Sumner. According to the story the two bundles are still around and kept in two Hopi family homes.
The use of the bundles have also opened more connections in my life which in turn have further influenced my work. It keeps evolving into something bigger that it reminds me how much power art can have. As part of the ritual I bless each piece that it protects its new home.