The 2014 Mesa Verde National Park artists in residence series kicks off next month with a Navajo-Hopi painter from Farmington.
Venaya Yazzie's colorful paintings reflect Native feminine figures as well as Native symbolism. Her two-week artist in residence, May 5-17, culminates with a free public presentation of her work at the Far View Lodge Library on Thursday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m.
"As a local community artist of the Four Corners area, I feel very blessed to be a part of this group of Mesa Verde artists," said Yazzie. "I feel good about being amidst the grand history of the people who once dwelled in the cliffs of Mesa Verde."
"As a visual artist, I know that each daily experience in the natural beauty of the land and flora and fauna will bring moments of sacredness," she added. "I am very humbled as an indigenous female artist to be chosen to share my art with the community, and so create dialogue on Southwestern contemporary native art via my paintings."
Yazzie's contemporary American Indian work has been called "visionary," and she strives to create images that work outside the boundaries of what the global society sees as stereotypical Native American art. Her modern acrylic and mixed media art serves to preserve a continual reverence for god and his creation, she said.
"I am inspired by many things, including the culture of my Navajo and Hopi people from the present and past, but above all, the land is my inspiration," she said.
Yazzie believes her art should always tell a story, and she hopes her two-dimensional images stir discussions of modern issues of social justice, self-awareness, the environment and the cultural ties to the modern American Indian and their historical past.
An alumna of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Arts in Santa Fe, Yazzie also holds a bachelor's in English from Fort Lewis College and a master's degree in elementary education with a minor in Indian education from the University of New Mexico. Her work can be seen at www.yazzgrlart.com.
Mesa Verde National Park has also named several other artists in residence, including journalist Rob Galin, potter Michael Savage, sculptor Hal Stewart, writer Sonja Horoshko and painter Ed Singer. Each artist residency extends two weeks, and they are staggered throughout the summer and into next fall.
This year's artists were selected from 65 applicants by a jury of a park ranger and three professional artists. For more, visit www.nps.gov/meve/supportyourpark/artists_in_residence.htm.
For more, visit www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nm/canm/artist_in_residence.html or call (970) 882-5600.