NAVAJO FOLK ART The People Speak
by Chuck and Jan Rosenak
Publisher: Northland Publishing
Hardback with slip cover, first edition, 1994, 163 pages, beautifully illustrated. Previous owner’s name written on the title page.
Authors Chuck and Jan Rosenak, renowned collectors of American folk art, embarked in 1983 on a ten-year journey through one of the last outposts of America’s shrinking West—the Navajo Nation. In the oozing mud and flickering firelight of a Yeibichai dance, in a sun-dappled Sweetwater brush arbor, in the cool of a thick-walled adobe trading post, they found innovative folk art and the remarkable individuals behind that art. Among the Diné, the People, artists brave taboos to express their personal visions, picking up cardboard and cottonwood, clay and wool to produce wonderful, whimsical, warm-hearted creations.
“To do something that has never been done,” say the Rosenaks, “to bare your soul to neighbor and stranger, this is a necessary ingredient of art. That is why (Navajo folk art) reflects the values and spirit of us all.” From “superstar” Mamie Deschillie, a traditional Navajo woman of the older generation who makes fanciful collages of cardboard and discarded fabrics, to teenage carver Delbert Buck, whose humorous sculptures were first represented in commercial galleries when he was fourteen, Navajo folk artists exemplify an indomitable spirit. Within the pages of The People Speak, these artists finally receive the recognition they deserve.