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Clifford Bahnimptewa (1938-1984)


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Clifford bahnimptewa was born in 1938 at Old Oraibi on Third Mesa. He was best known for his Katsina paintings, although he also was a fine carver. He grew up around his paternal grandparents, John and Mina Lansa, village leaders who possessed vast knowledge of Hopi history and culture. Cliff is the father of Danny Lansa Bahnimptewa, Larson Bahnimptewa, Steven Bahnimptewa, Roland Bahminptewa; cousin of Jacob Bahnimptewa.

In 1968, with encouragement from Sedona trader Don Hoel, Cliff embarked on a three-year effort to paint the 286 Katsina dancers listed in Dr. Harold S Colton's book Hopi Kachina Doll with a Key to Their Identification. About 237 of Cliffs paintings were published as illustrations in Barton Wright's book, Kachinas, A Hopi Artist's Documentary. Author Theda Bassman concluded. "The series is a significant account of one man's understanding of his traditional religion in a time of change."

In 1995, American Indian Art Magazine honored him posthumously as one of the greatest Native American artist in history.

Reference: Hopi Katsina: 1,600 Artist Biographies by Gregory and Angie Schaaf.

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