Navajo Artist Presents Exhibit, Demonstration


Western Village presents world-renowned artist, Robert Yellowhair, with an art show and reception from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday Nov. 23 and Nov. 24.

He will be conducting a hands-on art demonstration inside the Art & Antique Corral at Western Village.


Navajo artist Robert Yellowhair will present an exhibit and demonstration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 at Western Village, 1104 S. Beeline Hwy., Payson.

A full-blooded Navajo, Robert Yellowhair Sr. was born Aug. 8, 1937 in a hogan at Na-Ah Tee Canyon, 35 miles north of Holbrook, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation.

He would frequent the trading post with his father, and this was the site of his first art show. Waiting patiently, one day he found some colored rock, he began to sketch on a nearby barn.

His audience included some of the older Navajos, who were giving him advice on every subject he drew. They were his teachers, critics, as well as judges. Soon he would have to stand on his horse to reach the blank areas of the barn. Today some of those barn drawings are still visible.

In the early 1950s, the trader Charley McGee gave him his first watercolor set. A few days later, he sold his first painting to Charley for 50 cents. When there was no paper or barn to paint on, he would go down to the waterhole and etched with a nail on sandstone.

Yellowhair attended Carson City Indian School in Nevada. He began to seriously paint in 1965.

The subject of his paintings are his way of preserving and recording the oldest arts in America, beautiful tapestry rugs, fragile potteries, intricate baskets, various Kachinas and other works of the American Indians.

"All of these artworks are beginning to disappear like the drying up of a long river and waterholes," he said.

The distinguishing hallmark of his work is the fresh clean, vibrant color and the intricate detail which gives his paintings a three-dimensional quality.

The detail in his work stems from influences of his family.

Yellowhair's father, a medicine man having knowledge of past traditions, would relay stories and he would put them to canvas. A living history of Navajo art was brought to life, as his mother would help him with color.

His grandfathers of the 1800s played a part in American history, signing a treaty with the U.S. government.

Yellowhair has brought great honor to his nation and his family, receiving awards at various art exhibits through out the U.S. His wife Louise is a rug weaver and cradle board designer.

Enjoy a true Native American experience with Robert Yellowhair at his coming art exhibit and demonstration inside the Art & Antique Corral at Western Village.

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