Walter Howato, Hopi Pueblo Carver


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Picture of Walter Howato of Hopi Pueblo

Hopi Pueblo carver Walter Howato is known to have launched into a series of experiments to see if he could make his carving look really old. He found the secret in the early 1960's.  Four men were most responsible for the revival of traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls: Walter Howato of Frist Mesa, Manfred Sunkewa from Second Mesa, Jimmy Koots of Third Mesa and Jimmy Kewanwytewa of Moenkopi. These men influenced other carvers from their villages and mesas. Over a hundred carvers joined in the "Renaissance" of traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls.

Walter Howato (1921-2003) was from Hopi Pueblo and part of the Reed Clan. Walter showed talent in both carving and painting. After his graduation from the Santa Fe Indian School, Walter was hired by Walt Disney Studios. He Was joined by Navajo painter R.C. Gorman and Tse-ya-mu (Romando Vigil) from San Ildefonso Pueblo. Walter later recalled his "Magical" days at Disneyland: "We did a lot of things. Somtimes I played an Indian at Disneyland, and Sometimes I painted and did some interior decoration with my friend R.C. Gorman. R.C. and I painted everything up there" (howato in Day 2000:42).

Today, Walter's dolls are highly valued. Many are preserved at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ as well as in collections around the world. Walter Howato earned international recognition as a master carver and a fine artist.

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

Relative Links: Hopi Pueblo, R.C. Gorman,  Tse-ya-mu (Romando Vigil)San Ildefonso PuebloKatsina dolls, Manfred Sunkewa, Jimmy Koots

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