Lewis Lomay (1913-1996) Biography

Lewis Lomay (Lomayesva) is known for jewelry of clean, modern design with a European influence.  He was born at Old Oraibi on Hopi’s Third Mesa and studied art at the Albuquerque Indian School.  Around 1930 he transferred to Santa Fe Indian School where Dorothy Dunn was teaching the flat style of painting for which the School became known.  Lomay’s interest in developing new styles met with Dunn’s disapproval so he switched to studying jewelry under Ambrose Roanhorse.  During the Great Depression he quite school to work at Frank Patania’s Thunderbird Shop where he stayed for 13 years.  Lomay worked in both the traditional style he learned at school, but also developed clean, modern designs inspired by Patania.  After starting his own business, he entered his work in shows and immediately started winning awards.  The accolades continued until his death, just before the 1996 Santa Fe Indian Market.