Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


april 21, 2001 - Issue 34



Navajo Nation Museum Unveils Exhibit of Children's Book Illustrators


 By Sasheen Hollow Horn The Navajo Times


Navajo artist/actor Redwing Nez signs an autogrpsah for art fan Tyler Lynch, 9, of Sanders, Ariz., during the Arizona Story Book Art exhibit at Navajo Nation Museum last Saturday. (Times photo - Paul Natonabah)

WINDOW ROCK- It was a celebration for the youth.

The Navajo Nation Museum unveiled an exhibit showcasing Arizona's best-known illustrators of children's books, and followed that with its first annual music festival.

Navajo artists Redwing T. Nez, Shonto Begay and Baje Whitethorne were among the 12 artists - many of whom concentrated on the Navajo people or the Southwest - featured in the "Arizona Storybook Art" exhibition.

Made possible through the Arizona Commission on the Arts traveling exhibitions program, the exhibit consists of 40 original works of a dozen artists alongside some of the children's books they graced.

"Forbidden Talent" is Nez's debut as an author/illustrator of a children's book. The semi-autobiographical story tells how a young Navajo boy worked to create art anywhere he could and why his grandfather tells him that art should only be used to heal people and make a living.

Nez was trained as a traditional sand painter, and he learned the discipline needed to create art from the weavers in his family. His paintings are inspired by the landscape of his home in Indian Wells, Ariz., as well as the impressions of daily life and traditions among the Navajo people.

"The Magic of Spider Woman" was the featured work of Shonto W. Begay, of Kayenta. Begay has illustrated many books, including "Ma'ii" and "Cousin Horned Toad" and "The Mud Pony."

The works of Whitethorne, who now lives in Flagstaff, reflect his childhood memories and the environment of the Navajo reservation.

Some of his works included in the exhibit are "Sika" and the "Ravens, Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun," and "Monster Birds: A Navajo Folktale."

Many of the other artists' works deal with Navajos and the Southwest. The exhibit will be at the museum until May 26.

Performing at the music festival, the museum's first, were the Mesa, Ariz. rockabilly group The Ramblers; War Party, a rap group from Whiteriver, Ariz.; and the evening's featured act was local rap group Tribal Live.

Sponsors of the festival and the dance afterward were KQ Entertainment, the Division of Dine Education/Office of Diné Youth, P&M Coal Mining Inc., Community Health Representatives, McDonald's in Window Rock, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, AG Cash & Carry, Complete Communications, Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise and Library Services.

And the celebration continues with three youth art workshops, hosted by noted area artists Teddy Draper (April 20-21), Baje Whitethorne (May 4-5) and Keith Smith (May 18-19).

On the first day, the artists will speak to parents about supporting up-and-coming youth artists and on the second, the workshops commence at 9:30 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m.

"We really want to get youth who are serious about art," said Clarenda Begay, museum curator.

For pre-registration or more information, contact either the museum or the Fort Defiance Division of Dine Education/Office of Dine Youth (formerly DYCS).

 Baje Whitethorne


Shonto Begay




  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.



The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.