An original acrylic on canvas painting
27 1/4"w x 26"h
Ready to hang as is.
Canvas made by the artist
Untitled II | by April Tsosie
This show is meant to celebrate and honor the legacy of our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers.
It has been 74 years since the bloody fighting of WWII ended and the Navajo Code Talkers returned home. They developed a sepcial code using the Navajo Language, which remains the ONLY verbal code used by the U.S. military that has never been broken. They also fought. As Marines, the were riflemen first. As Navajos they strived to walk in beauty. After the war, many underwent the "Enemy Way Ceremony" meant to cleanse the mind and spirit of the mark of war. Though the war was over, thier fight was not. Returning to Arizona and New Mexico, they could still not vote until 1948. Racism, discrimination and hardship were still realities life both on and off the reservation.
Now, with the war behind them and their lives ahead of them, they would lead a new charge: one that continues to impact us, thier descendants. They began training themselves for professions in art, politics, law, sports, and they fought to be accepted as equals in thier new professions.
This show features original artworks by two Navajo Code Talkers: Carl N. Gorman and Chester Nez as well as the artwork of Code Talker Descendants: Teddy Draper, III, April Tsosie, Dawning Pollen Shorty, Michael Nez, Latham Nez, Emery Whitfield Nez, R.C. Gorman, and Michael Gorman.
Each artist works in their own style and medium, from the traditional to the contemporary, the representational to the abtract.
When I was growing up, I spent summers with my grandparents on their ranch on the Navajo reservation located south of Gallup, New Mexico. We tended the cornfield, sheep, horses and cattle. The memories I have of growing up were what first inspired me to paint. I am emotionally invested in my art; as memories, stories and events inspire me.
I began painting with oil on canvas when I enrolled in a painting class during my senior year at the University of New Mexico in 1999. I continued to study the fundamentals of painting and drawing until I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in psychology in the spring of 2000. I worked for two years with the city of Albuquerque and AmeriCorps designing and implementing literacy programs for elementary school students. During that time, I continued to paint on my own at home, and began entering art competitions and receiving several awards for my work during this time.
I decided to pursue art as a career when I enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2002. While I was attending IAIA, I was introduced to another favorite medium, ceramics. My passion materialized when I began showing in numerous juried art venues. I later transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005, and I graduated with a degree in fine art in 2007.
I stayed in Chicago for almost seven years and lead numerous art workshops within the Native community, especially with Native youth at the American Indian Center of Chicago. I also continued to participate in numerous art venues across the country. In June 2012 I decided that it was time for me to move closer to home and family, and I chose Denver, CO as my new home. While in Denver, I was given the exciting opportunity to participate in the Biennial of the Americas in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum in 2015. I was a Lead Artist in a collaboration with five other Lead Artists of Denver and we worked under our main Lead, world renowned Honduran Artist Francisco Alvarado. Together we created a cohesive piece that was displayed at the Biennial of the Americas and hung at the Denver Art museum for several months. As a result of that collaboration, I was asked to be a demonstrating Artist at the Denver Art Museum several months later.
It has been an exciting and eventful road, yet two things remain constant - the roots of my inspiration and the continuous leaps of faith that have proved that anything is possible. I could not imagine doing anything else.