Shonto Begay, Diné of the Navajo Nation Painter

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Shonto Begay (1954- present) signature

Diné of the Navajo Nation Artist Shonto W. Begay is known for his award-winning paintings. He also writes and illustrates children's books and lectures to schools about the importance of education.

Shonto Begay was born in Shonto, Arizona in 1954. His father, Mailboy Begay, was a medicine man and his mother, Faye Begay, a weaver. He spent his childhood in the traditional manner, learning to herd sheep and live in a balanced way in tune with nature. He began drawing as a child, observing, and recording the changing seasons of the desert and its inhabitants. He attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools as a child, where he states that drawing was a way for him to overcome his loneliness.

Shonto W. Begay (1954- ) attained an associate's degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and a bachelor's degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Before he began to paint professionally, he was a park ranger in Wyoming and Arizona.

Award winning artist Shonto W. Begay began painting professionally in 1983, and, since has been in numerous shows and exhibitions including the Wheelwright Museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, Arizona State Museum, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum in San Francisco. He has won prizes at Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

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