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Michael Roanhorse

 

Hailing from Crystal, New Mexico's Navajo Reservation on the Chuska Mountains, Michael Roanhorse (Diné) was born into the Tábaahí Clan (By the Water) and the Kinyaa'aanii Clan (Towering House). He is rapidly emerging to the forefront of the Native Arts scene. The contemporary artist continues to earn significant recognition among his contemporaries garnering accolades at the nation's top venues: including the Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, the Smithsonian National Museum for the American Indian, and the Eiteljorg Museum.

Each work forged by Roanhorse's skilled hands remains distinctive -- a three-dimensional realization of his original abstract vision. Collectors describe his jewelry as wearable sculpture -- literal works of fine art.

 

Roanhorse continues to draw from his cultural heritage to inspire new creative themes, while striving beyond the boundaries of traditional Native jewelry design and function.

In his own words: “I feel very blessed to have been given a talent and the opportunity to be a full-time artist and create art for a living. I am humble to wake up every morning and be able to love my job and to create beautiful pieces.

 

I learned the basics of silver and metalsmithing from my father. I researched the fundamentals, including various techniques of silversmithing, while furthering my knowledge and experience. My goal is to push the envelope of contemporary art in silver, metal, and sculpture. I also want to keep evolving my style to help create a new and modern field in contemporary art.

 

The oral history of my people, handed down to my generation, fuels my artistic pursuits. The old stories give me ideas for each piece I create. The process I use to forge my works is three-fold: first, I envision the piece as an abstract painting, and then I see the piece as a three-dimensional sculpture. Lastly, I combine everything, creating a three dimensional abstract sculpture that is wearable art. 

I believe in learning about our own history and background, and that process will help teach our younger generations who and where they come from so that we as Diné will not lose our heritage.”