Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adorn yourself. Its medicine.

Wearing cultural jewelry is not merely an act of tangible adornment. Wearing Indigenous, southwestern jewelry, is an act of cultural sovereignty. Our turquoise is our survival, it is our prayers.

Bless yourself: wear your dootlizhi.

New book. Lloyd Lee, PhD

Venaya Yazzie with new book by Lloyd Lee, PhD.

Navajo scholar Lloyd Lee, PhD recently published his book titled, Dine' Masculinities and he asked for my art for his cover.  Get the book, its full of strong knowledge and insights. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Zuni-inspired earring adornments.

Photo by Venaya Yazzie

In my palm I told a precious pair of Zuni-inspired earring adornments. These earrings are vintage and are made of mother of pear shell with turquoise, coral and onyx materials.

Wrist adornments.

Photo by Venaya Yazzie 2014

Navajos have made and adorned their wrists with silver and turquoise bracelets for many years. This adornment of the self concerns not only the tangible, but the spiritual. Many Navajo understand that by wearing such items they will be blessed by Creator God. 

These bracelets are my own which I have acquired buy direct purchase or were gifted to me.

The matriarch.

Venaya Yazzie and her (grand)Mother.

My adulthood has brought me to the path of my grandmother, who raised me. She is the matriarch of our family and she is a blessing to me in every way.

The strong history she shares is healing, it is the history of our family, our Navajo people.

Hand adornment - ring

I recently acquired this ring via the Shiprock Indian Open Market in New Mexico. It is a Navajo made simple ring design made of sterling silver and an onyx stone. It has become my favorite piece I wear daily.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ancient stone and my neo-shell earrings.

Pueblo-style earrings.
Photo by venaya yazzie

The earrings pictured here are my favorite earrings in my collection. I attained these circular discs about 15 years ago in Arizona. They are mostly made completely of shell material  including: spiny oyster, mother of pearl, and abalone, and turquoise too.

During my second week of my artist residency (AIR), I wore these earrings on my re-occurring visit to the dwelling called Balcony House at Mesa Verde. Yes, I did visit the dwellings at Mesa Verde, but not all. Some people, (Navajo) do not visit such sights due to their personal reasons, as some say it is taboo to do so. Being raised in a family of scholars, archaeologists,  and 'anthros', I feel I am somewhat more open-minded to studying and experience the history of Indigenous people of the southwest.  Furthermore, my grandfather and his brothers who were from the area near Chaco Canyon in New Mexico also worked as Navajo masons who assisted in re-building the walls at Chaco.

I must admit that the overall feeling I got from this place (Balcony House) was a calming, peaceful feeling even that of celebration and also the female. I was able to do many Plein-Air art sketching and photography in the area and will soon create a painting from these initial drawings and from one I will donate the AIR program.

Throughout my rural trek in the high-desert lands of Mesa Verde I 'adorned' my person. I wore coral, turquoise, silver; it was my humble way of paying homage to ancestors who once walked, and migrated among the ancient sagebrush, cedar, juniper trees and majestic ponderosa pine and blue spruce.

My art has blessed my life path, for it has taken me to places my spirit needs. I am so very thankful for art in my life. 


Adornment amidst Mesa Verde

for the last two weeks i was purposely lost in the natural world of the sandstone cliffs at mesa verde national park. i was chosen to participate in the 2014 AIR artist residency program in southwestern colorado. the program is meant to allow artists to reside in the park and therefore to be inspired by the beauty of the natural high-desert environment.

i was able to dwell on the grounds of the entire park, whichi includes ancient anasazi dwellings, and that were originally re-built by contemporary navajo men. the navajo masons whom is speak of are those who previously assisted in re-building the walls of the ancient sites in the early 1930s. the hogan in which i stayed were also build by these navajo masons as they needed places to live while they were working for the national park, overall the 'hogan' was a beautiful and very comfortable home away from home.

my visit while at mesa verde was very inspirational, as i was able to visit the sites that are found throughout the canyons. among the favorite the highlights was the site named balcony house, in which the dwelling holds a balcony-type area that faces the east.

i have included photographs of the my visit to the balcony house in which i wore my turquoise and coral necklace. i felt that it was a way of being respectful to the space and that i was bringing good blessings to the place.

Thursday, April 24, 2014