Bernard Dawahoya (1935 - 2011) Biography

Master silversmith Bernard Dawahoya was born in 1935 in the Second Mesa village of Shungopavi. A member of the Snow Clan, his Hopi name is Masaqueva, which means “Wings of the Sun” or “Little Sun”.

Bernard Dawahoya, was a master of many traditional Hopi crafts, but focused on silversmithing since his teens. He has been making jewelry since the 1950s. He learned silversmithing from his uncles Washington Talayumptewa and Sidney Sekakuku. He also took classes at the Hopi Silver Craft Cooperative Guild. For a time, he worked for Wayne and Emory Sekaquaptewa making jewelry at the Hopi Enterprise Shop in Phoenix.

Eventually, Bernard Dawahoya returned to Shungopavi and created his own shop, and continued to exhibit at arts and craft shows. His masterful works are known for their precise matting (texturing) in negative spaces, heavyweight silver, crisp designs, and bold traditional symbols, such as Mudheads, Hopi Snake Dancer, Crow Mother, eagles, roadrunners and more. These all reflect Hopi history, culture, and beliefs. Beyond his skills with silver overlay, jewelry boxes and bowls, he created textiles, paintings, Katsina dolls, and leatherwork. He also recorded traditional Hopi dance songs in 2004, and was known as a prolific storyteller, regaling admirers with the stories behind his designs.

His works are included in the collection at the Peabody Museum, at Harvard University, as well as many private collections. In 1998 Bernard Dawahoya was designated an Arizona living treasure. His jewelry and art are exhibited in museums from California to New York. He passed away on April 17, 2011.


Bernard Dawahoya - Hopi Silver Overlay Kokopelli Necklace c. 1980sHopi Silver Overlay Kokopelli Necklace c. 1980s by Bernard Dawahoya

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