Shonto Begay, Navajo Post-Impressionist

Recently, I had the pleasure of viewing an exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Art titled:  “Bierstadt to Warhol:  American Indians in the West.”  (It is highly recommended.)  Two of the more amazing works in show are by a Navajo artist named Shonto Begay.

Shonto Begay's Paintings at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Shonto Begay’s Paintings at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

I would call Shonto’s style post-impressionist, a little reminiscent of Van Gogh in its use of color and paint.  His subject matter is strictly Navajo and many of Shonto’s works have a whimsical feel.  His depictions of Navajos and the northern reservation landscape are truly amazing.  But I will let his art work speak for itself.

Shonto Begay's "Monument Symphony"

Shonto Begay’s “Monument Symphony”

Shonto, whose workshop is in Shonto, Arizona, was born in a hogan in Shonto.

My parents are traditional Navajo people.  My father is a medicine man, and my mother weaves rugs and herds sheep.

Shonto Begay's "Repite II"

Shonto Begay’s “Repite II”

My message is simple.  Build bridges through the arts and stories of your culture, validate and share visions and voices.  Celebrate your personal identity through the arts.

Shonto has been a professional artist since 1983.  He attended BIA boarding schools in various parts of the Navajo Reservation and high school in Kayenta, AZ.  He received an Associate’s of Fine Art degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts.

Shonto Begay's "Grandfather Tree of Knowledge"

Shonto Begay’s “Grandfather Tree of Knowledge”

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