Raymond Naha (1933-1975)
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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 School.
His paintings are characterized by the depiction of details of Hopi ceremonial life in a vibrant and colorful manner. His work reflects more of a European influence than other Native American painters of the time. He was one of the first to break away from the traditional Dorothy Dunn style and use more colors and diverse backgrounds. He continued to paint traditional subjects such as dancers and village life, but used a stronger, more inventive pallet, often painting night scenes with dark blue and grey hues.
He 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 was exhibited widely and has won numerous awards including the Indian Arts Fund in Santa Fe in 1962. He died in 1975.
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