Native Pueblo sculptor, Cliff Fragua, has learned the secret of the stone through his cultural and ancestral teachings. Based in Native American themes, his work shows pride for his culture and a deep understanding of the inherent spirituality of the stone. He has chosen stone as his medium of expression because it is a combination of the basic elements of the earth. He feels that the honesty and purity of this most basic of material permits him to express himself from the heart and to express the spirit that Native people respect an revere as embodied in the stone.
Since 1974, when he created his first stone sculpture, Fragua has created a significant body of work that keeps evolving with the artist’s new influences and new interests. His sculptures are featured in such public locations as the Albuquerque International Airport and in permanent collections throughout the country. He has been included in major invitational exhibitions and one-man shows in leading museums and galleries and has earned highest honors and awards for his sculptures.
“The stone speaks to me by its color and sound. I look at the color and the characteristics of the stone, then I tap it to listen for a ringing sound. If it rings, then the stone is solid. I interpret the ringing as singing, hence the name of my studio.
"My connection with the stone involves spirituality and reverence for the spirit that dwells within. It has been on this earth much longer than man and for this reason the stone becomes the teacher, it is simply what my ancestors believe. I am the mediator between the stone and the tools; the stone and the viewer. I visualize what the stone wants to become and I strive to help it blossom.”
Cliff is the only Native American to have a stone sculpture in the statuary hall of the United States Capitol. It is the second of works representing New Mexico and the hundredth and last of these works to be added.
•Pietrasanta Stone Workshop - Pietrasanta, Italy, 1987
•San Francisco Art Institute - San Francisco, California, 1974
•Institute of American Indian Arts - Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1973-1975