Original Painting of a Hopi Pueblo Kachina Dance by Raymond Naha

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Raymond Naha, Hopi Pueblo Painter

Hopi Pueblo artist Raymond Naha is best known for his ability to paint even the smallest aspects of Hopi life in the most exquisite detail. Feathers, greenbough, sashes, kilt embroidery and other costume details are exquisitely executed.  He painted traditional subjects such as dancers and village life, but used a stronger, more inventive pallet than many of his contemporaries, often painting night scenes with dark blue and grey hues. He was exhibited widely and has won numerous awards including the Indian Arts Fund in Santa Fe in 1962. He died in 1975, leaving behind a large, highly collectible body of work.

This large painting was completed in 1974—the year before Naha’s passing.  By this time, he’d long ago mastered his craft. Here, he depicted a ritual that occurs on the night following the Powamuya (or “Bean Dance”) ceremony.  His Katsinam are bathed in the orange glow of the Kiva’s fire. The moon, hidden behind a small group of clouds, casts its own yellow light onto the Pueblo rooftops.  Two bystanders hold lanterns, lighting up the exterior of the Kiva. These light sources provide exactly what is needed and nothing more, illuminating the Katsinam’s colorful ceremonial garb.  The rest of the piece is all darkness—dark blues and browns, mostly. In some areas, far from the light sources, the image is almost black. Night scenes like this one are incredibly difficult to paint, but Naha did so skillfully and with great respect for his subjects.

Hopi-Tewa artist Raymond Naha was born at Polacca, which is at the foot of First Mesa, on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona on December 5, 1933. He studied with Fred Kabotie at Oraibi High School. Kabotie recognized Naha’s talent and encouraged him to continue his studies. Naha then took correspondence courses and studied at the Phoenix Indian Schoo

Artist Signature - Raymond Naha, Hopi Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed and dated in the lower right. It is framed underneath glare-resistant glass.

Note: Duane Koyawena of Hopi Pueblo has notified us that a portion of this painting is culturally sensitive. So, we have chosen to block this out at their request.


Condition: this Original Painting of a Hopi Kachina Dance is in excellent condition

Provenance: This painting was purchased directly from the artist by its current owner, who was friends with Raymond Naha and many other Hopi artists

Recommended Reading:  Southwest Indian Painting--a Changing Art  by Clara Lee Tanner

Relative Links: Raymond NahaHopi Reservation in ArizonaFred KabotieKatsinampainting