Shonto Begay, Navajo painter
Biography Shonto Begay
A professional artist since 1983, Shonto Begay spends his time painting and speaking to audiences of all ages. His art has been shown in more than 50 shows in galleries and museums including The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, the American Indian Contemporary Arts' museum in San Francisco and Phoenix Art Museum.
Shonto Begay attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools all over the Navajo Reservation and high school in Kayenta. He received an Associates of Fine Art degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts.
Shonto Begay with painting On the Edge of Ceremony, Acrylic on Canvas, 36" x 24"
Shonto Begay worked as a National Park Service ranger for ten years at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Navajo National Monument in Arizona.
Shonto Begay speaks to audiences of all ages. He presents his personal history as a Navajo who happens to draw upon his culture in its modern context. He illustrates his talks with slides and prints and gives short art lessons to students.
Shonto Begay, Navajo Painter
"I have always had a love for art. From a very young age, I found excitement in the experience of drawing. To recreate facets of my universe in varying degrees has always been my life's adventure.
I was born in a hogan in Shonto, Arizona. My parents are traditional Navajo people. My father is a medicine man, and my mother weaves rugs and herds sheep.
Shonto Begay, Mystery Canyon Passage, Acrylic on Canvas, 52"x 80"
My message is simple. Build bridges through the arts and stories of your culture, validate and share these visions and voices. Celebrate your personal identity through the arts. In my talks, I am as much a student as I am a teacher," says Shonto Begay.
- The Magic of Spiderwoman, 1996
- Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa, 1995
- Scholastic: Multicultural Books, 1994-1995
- Mali and Cousin Horned Toad, 1991
- The Mud Pony, Owl award for Illustration in Japan, 1988
- Visual Chant: The Paintings of Shonto Begay, San Juan College Art Gallery
- Canyon Road Arts, 2007 - present
- Live!, Flagstaff, AZ, 1997 - present
- Western Art Collector, Premiere Issue 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
- XFuns, Interview, Japan, 2007
- Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Cover painting, 2003-2007
- Native Peoples, “Creative Journeys,” 2004
- Arts and Living, Mural , Sierra Club, Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association and the Black Mesa Trust, 2004
- Warrior’s Voice, Interview, 2002
- IAIA Museum Exhibition, Cover painting, 2002
- Memo, Japan, 2001
- Arizona Daily Sun, 2001
- Arizona Highways, Cover painting and Illustrations for “Sacred Gift” 2001
- Jackson Hole News, 2000
- The Sunday Journal, 2001
- Navajo Hopi Observer, 1999
- The Daily Times, 1997
- Indian Artist, “Talking with Shonto Begay,” 1997
- Time Machine, 1996
- Instructor: The Whole Teacher’s Handbook, 1995
- West University Sun, 1995
- Phoenix Home and Garden, January 1994
- Book Links, 1992
- Plateau Journal
- Time Machine
- 2013-2014 Arizona State Museum, Tucson, Arizona (Dec 6-May 6)
- 2013 "Bierstadt to Warhol: American Indians in the West" Utah Museum of Fine Art
- 2011 Plein Air on the Rim, Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon, AZ
- 2006-Present - Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
- 2009 - Farmington, NM
- 2009 - 1st Annual Rock the Canyon Community Celebration, Headliner, Shonto, AZ
- 2009 - Geronimo Remembered: A Retrospective 100 Years After His Death, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ
- 2007 - Arizona: A Millennium of Arizona Art, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ
- 2002 - IAIA Museum
- Walk the Line, Santa Fe Indian Market
- The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM
- American Indian Contemporary Arts' Museum, San Francisco, CA
- Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona
Selected Awards / Honors / Teaching / Public Speaking
- 2011 - Heard Museum Signature Artist
- 2011 - Innocence Project International, Speaker along with Nelson Mandela, Image and Logo Designer, Cincinnati, OH
- 2010 - First Place - 89th Annual SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market. Click here to view pictures.
- 2010 - Best of Division A - Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, and Photography - 89th Annual SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market. Click here to view pictures.
- 2010 - Artist of the Year, Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
- 2010 - Speaker and Demonstrator at the Children's Illustration Show, Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
- 2010 - Viola Award for the Visual Arts, Coconino County, Arizona
- 2009 - Endowment for the Arts, Speaker, Miami FL
- 2003 - The Marjorie Pierce Avery Award of Excellence in Two Dimensional Art, Southwest Indian Art Fair, Arizona State Museum
- 2000 - Colorado Plateau Workshop, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Featured art, "Skinwalker" Robert Redford adapted from Tony Hillerman's book "The Skinwalker"
- Cultural Consultant, line producer, actor and artist in "Vacuuming the Cat" starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Perlman
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