Lowell Talashoma, Sr. (1950-2003)
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Lowell Talashoma, Sr.'s life story already seems to possess some of those rare qualities that distinguish those of legendary proportions from the ordinary. At less than two years of age he was moved from his family home on the Hopi mesas in Northern Arizona. Due to hard times, Lowell's parents gave their permission for this son to go to Utah and live with an elderly Mormon couple. Reared by this couple as an “only” son, Lowell discovered mainstream America and a Christian household.
A natural artist, Lowell produced drawings and sculptures with perspective, proportion and grace at an age when other children marked out crude symbols. While still in grade school he whittled a freely-turning sphere within a cage from a single block of wood. He would, while still a child, illustrate a story as it was being read aloud.
Stimulated by visits back to his Hopi family, Lowell began to long for the culture he was missing. With ideas and visions he took back to his adoptive home, Lowell through his own artistic ability began to discover the need for his native heritage. One day while visiting on the mesa, the time came for Lowell to return to Utah. He surprised everyone including himself by refusing to leave his Hopi homeland. He stayed to become himself, a Hopi.
There are few cultures in the world today that have such a strong sense of purpose and place as the Hopi culture. Lowell learned when he reclaimed his heritage that to be a Hopi meant becoming aware of the spirit of all things. He began acknowledging the reality of village customs and ceremony that were very different from Little League and the Christmas holidays he knew as a child in Utah. Lowell found that the very foundation of Hopi life rests on the principles of Kachinas and direction from the Creator.
Lowell has garnered numerous prestigious awards in various fine art competitions and exhibits. Top honors were accumulated from the likes of the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial and the Santa Fe Indian Market. A memorable exhibit at the Heard Museum Guild-Native American Arts Exhibit earned Lowell the Sandra Day O'Connor Special Award for Kachinas.
Highly regarded for the movement and excitement captured in his cottonwood root sculptures, Lowell's devotion and dedication to his Hopi heritage was reflected. This mastering of his talent provided Lowell and his wife Karen, three daughters and two sons, additional inspiration in the Hopi way. Lowell's total commitment to art, accuracy and his exquisitely beautiful message of movement is felt when one views a creation from this master artist.
Lowell also worked in bronze, and many of those creations are shown in major galleries around the country. The original for each bronze was carved from wood, taking months to complete. Lowell used a process called the lost wax method to make each bronze casting. The bronze is so perfect that one can actually see the wood grain from the original carving reproduced in the bronze. Talashoma's works are in select corporate and private collections, including those of the Valley National Bank of Arizona, Otero Savings and Loan of Colorado, renowned photographer Jerry Jacka and actor, producer, author and Southwestern enthusiast Robert Redford.
Reference text and photo: Hopi Katsina: 1,600 Artist Biographies by Gregory and Angie Schaaf.
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