Jimmy Kewanwytewa, Hopi Pueblo Artist


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Hopi Pueblo artist Jimmy Kewanetewa was from the Short Corn Clan. He was an active Katsina carver from circa 1910 to 1966. He is best known for his carvings, rattles, rabbit sticks, embroidery, moccasins, leather leggings, drums, and a singer.

Jimmy Kewanwytewa (1889-1966) Jimmy K was the first Hopi to sign Katsina carvings. He began this practice in the 1940s and although it was controversial at the time, many other Hopi artists soon followed suit. Jimmie K was a dynamic, charismatic individual who educated thousands of visitors to the Museum of Northern Arisona. He sang traditional Hopi songs, provided countless demonstrations on Katsina carving, and gave lectures about Hopi traditions and culture.

Four Hopi Pueblo artists were most responsible for the revival of carving traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls:

- Walter Howato of First Mesa 

- Manfred Susunkewa from Second Mesa

- Jimmy Koots of Third Mesa

- Jimmy Kewanwytewa (Jimmy K) of Moenkopi

These artists influenced other carvers from their villages and mesas. Over a hundred carvers joined in the "Renaissance" of carving traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls.

Jimmy's obituary in Plateau Magazine stated in part: "During his thirty-two years of service to the Museum of Northern Arizona, Jimmy became an institution himself. Thousands of people throughout the country were his friends and greeted him enthusiastically on every return visit. He was the embodiment of the Hopi way of life and will live forever in the hearts of all who knew him." (Plateau Journal Summer 1966:71.)

Variations of his name: Jimmy Kewanetewa, Jimmie K, Jimmy Kewanwytewa, Jim Kewanwytewa, James S. Kewanwytewa.


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

TAGS: Hopi PuebloKatsina dollsJimmy KootsRomando Vigil, Tse Ye MuManfred SusunkewaWalter Howato