Harry Fonseca, Maidu Artist
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Harry Fonseca (1946-2006) was an artist of Portuguese, Hawaiian and Nisenan-Maidu descent. He was born January 5, 1946 in Sacramento, California and was raised in Bryte, California. Fonseca attended local schools including California State University, Sacramento where he majored in fine art with emphasis on "primitive" styles and forms. Fonseca drew from a deep well of influences—his own heritage, symbols and imagery from various Native peoples, the natural world, the California Gold Rush, religous and mythological imagery—while developing a unique style that remains highly desirable to collectors.
Fonseca and his wife Sue moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where they resided several years. It was during this time that Fonseca discovered "Coyote," which inspired a series of works featuring the fabled and universally appealing character. The coyote has strong historical ties to many Indian traditions, and is ubiquitous among the tribes. Known as the "trickster," his acknowledged purpose has been to provide levity, to create balance with all the serious tradition, to help let off a little steam and bring everything into focus. Fonseca has wonderfully elaborated on this historical character. He has blown him up to larger-than-life-size, dressed him in the flashy garb of modern "cool," added glitter and placed him in familiar settings of modern times.
TAGS: Maidu, fine art, Albuquerque, New Mexico