Shonto: Eyes of the World
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
Santa Fe, NM
Shonto Begay: Eyes of the World features the work of Navajo Neo-Impressionist artist Shonto Begay. Autobiographical in nature, his paintings visually narrate his connection to the Navajo landscape, personal histories, and cosmology. Shonto’s voice resonates throughout the exhibition, poetically complimenting individual artworks with in-depth storytelling and reflections on life, furthering the viewer’s understanding of art as an activity that creates objects of healing, beauty, and peace in a troubled world.
“My relationship with the Wheelwright Museum goes way back and deep. My father’s Diné prayer blessed this museum. The Wheelwright is guardian of our Diné Jish – the creative forces of scared visionaries,” Shonto says. “I am fortunate for my artwork to be in the Wheelwright Museum collection. My vision graces its walls with great validation.”
The striking beauty of the Dine’ land and culture meet the harsh realities of reservation life in Shonto: Eyes of the World, a solo exhibition featuring original paintings from the 1980s until present day. Autobiographical works tell the stunning story of boarding school life, bronco riding, heartfelt hippies, inspiring ancestors and the beautiful landscapes that fuel inspiration and the Navajo way of life, Hozho – walking in beauty. More than half the exhibit is from private collectors who purchased paintings in the past 30 years – most have never been shared with the public.
A separate gallery features the Wheelwright’s collection of Shonto ink (Bic pen) on paper drawings from the early 1990s depicting the Navajo legend creation story of the Hero Twins.