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Nora Yazzie

Nora Yazzie is a full blooded Native American Indian. She was born in 1954 into the Navajo Nation. Nora is a Dine from the Four Corners region of the Navajo Reservation. She was raised in Farmington, New Mexico and attended a Navajo Methodist Mission High School where she was first introduced to the arts through clay, drama, and creative writing. Encouraged by her teachers to explore each medium, she entered her first local high school art show and placed first in the clay division. Thus, began her journey into the art world.

Nora’s grandparents were influential figures in her work. As a child she was fortunate to have observed and participated in blessing ceremonies performed by her grandfather who was a sandpainter. Her grandmother, a renown rug weaver and midwife, personified earth mother as she helped bring new life into the world. These important observations served as seeds planted for cultivation of her creative imagination.

Traditional art was always a part of her environment. Because there is no word for “art” in the Navajo language, she never questioned the validity of the creative process in a western European sense. Creating is a way of life for her and her family. Colors come from the earth so land is a natural and essential part of the process. In her case, her mother and grandmother taught her to observe land formations where rug designs come from. Land formations combined with their natural colors are her sole derivatives and foundation when designing a piece. Eventually she hopes to develop and create monumental sculpture and bronze. Constant growth and stretching ideas into three-dimensional form is an exciting path for her right now.