Shonto Begay - Biography (2023)

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Shonto Begay (Born 1954) is active/lives in Arizona, Wyoming.Shonto Begay is known for Post modern Navajo-real genre painting.

Shonto Begay - Biography (1) Born in a hogan and raised on Dineh’ land, known as the Navajo Nation, Shonto Begay began professionally writing, illustrating and painting in 1983. His work captures the striking beauties of a traditional Navajo upbringing and the harsh realities of modern reservation life. Represented in galleries and museums worldwide, he was one of 16 children.

His mother is a traditional Navajo rug weaver from the Bitter Water Clan and his father was a medicine man born to the Salt Clan. Shonto grew up herding sheep in Kletha Valley, located in Shonto, Arizona. His acrylic paintings are done in a series of small brush strokes that repeat like the words of a traditional Navajo blessing prayer. Images harken heartfelt childhood memories and resonate the constant struggle for balance and harmony with humankind and the Earth.

Shonto’s traditional life of sustainability and prayer helped him endure the brutality of the U.S. government boarding school he was forced to attend as a child aw ...[Displaying 1000 of 3081 characters.] Artist bio

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(Video) Shonto Begay: Artist Talk

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Facts about Shonto Begay

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Shonto Begay Born:1954 - Navajo Reservation, Arizona

Known for:Post modern Navajo-real genre painting


Shonto Begay - Biography (2)

Photo Credit: Medicineman Gallery

(Video) Shonto Begay: New Works 2022 | Navajo Artist Insights

Shonto Begay - Biography (3)

Rhythms from the Edge of the Rez

Art images copyright© of artist or assignee

Days of Hard Lines II, 2005 Art images copyright© of artist or assignee
Biography from Medicine Man Gallery

Born in a hogan and raised on Dineh’ land, known as the Navajo Nation, Shonto Begay began professionally writing, illustrating and painting in 1983. His work captures the striking beauties of a traditional Navajo upbringing and the harsh realities of modern reservation life. Represented in galleries and museums worldwide, he was one of 16 children.

His mother is a traditional Navajo rug weaver from the Bitter Water Clan and his father was a medicine man born to the Salt Clan. Shonto grew up herding sheep in Kletha Valley, located in Shonto, Arizona. His acrylic paintings are done in a series of small brush strokes that repeat like the words of a traditional Navajo blessing prayer. Images harken heartfelt childhood memories and resonate the constant struggle for balance and harmony with humankind and the Earth.

Shonto’s traditional life of sustainability and prayer helped him endure the brutality of the U.S. government boarding school he was forced to attend as a child away from the loving family sheep camp he was asked to forget. Shonto speaks to audiences of all ages about inspiration and the importance of education and embracing cultural backgrounds. He is making his film debut as the character Cowboy in the upcoming Native-produced "Monster Slayer Project" – a movie about the Hero Twins, key characters in the Dineh’s origin story. A true storyteller, Shonto written and illustrated several books for Scholastic publishers.

(Video) Shonto Begay talks about "Evening Serenade"

Shonto’s art has been exhibited in solo shows at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Arizona State Museum, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum in San Francisco and Phoenix Art Museum.

Shonto attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools all over the Navajo Reservation and high school in Kayenta. He received an Associates of Fine Art degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts. He worked a decade in the 1980s as a National Park Service ranger at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Navajo National Monument in Arizona.

Artist Statement
From a very young age, I found excitement in recreating facets of my universe in varying images. I was inspired and surrounded by Hozho (beauty), including the sounds of songs and healing chants accompanied with stories from elders. I survived boarding school partly because of my spiritual strength and retreat into my drawings. I was always drawing. “Arts Save Lives” is my mantra. “Shonto” in Dineh’ translates to sunlight on water -- a reflection of light on the canyon wall from the flowing water. My journey as an artist is to document my life and the world as I see through the lens I was born with through my Navajo experience while negotiating the modern. I have worn many hats in my life: shepard, BIA Boarding School inmate, cowboy, National Park Service Ranger, Wildfire crew, professional boxing team support, film actor, author and artist.

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(Video) Navajo Artist Shonto Begay Epi. 2, host Dr. Mark Sublette

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(Video) Friends Book Club – "Navajo Visions and Voices Across the Mesa" by Shonto Begay


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FAQs

What is Shonto Begay famous for? ›

Begay is the author of The Mud Pony (1988), winner of the Owl Award for Illustration; Ma'ii and Cousin Horned Toad (1991); and Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa (1995) and illustrated The Magic of Spider Woman (1996) and among others.

Where does Shonto Begay live? ›

Begay, who now lives and works out of Flagstaff, Arizona, is best known for his paintings of the desolate roads which stretch endlessly through the unmistakable landscapes of the Desert Southwest.

What is Begay? ›

(transitive) To make cheerful or merry.

Who is Victor Begay? ›

Begay is an assistant professor at North Idaho College where he coordinates the American Indian studies program there. He has worked in Arizona public schools and community colleges and received a PhD from Arizona State University.

Is Notah Begay Indian? ›

Begay, who is one-half Navajo, one-quarter San Felipe and one-quarter Isleta, is the first full-blooded Native American ever to play on the PGA TOUR.

Who is Sam Begay? ›

Sam, a plumber by trade, is one of about 140 medicine men in the Navajo Nation. Sam learned from his grandfather from the time he was 4 or 5 years old. He says he approaches earth, sun and plant spirits to bring balance when he does his ceremonies.

How old is Ned Begay? ›

Ned is a young Navajo man who is roughly 15 years old when World War II starts. Ned's birth name is Kii Yázhí.

Where did name Begay come from? ›

Begay is a surname, derived from the Navajo word biyeʼ [pìjèʔ] meaning "his/her son". It is also a Senegambian first name, spelled the same way in English speaking Gambia but pronounced bee gaay (long stretch).

Who is Notah Begay wife? ›

Who is Notah Begay married to? ›

What is Fred Begay ethnicity? ›

The first Navajo to received a Ph. D. in physics, Fred Begay was born at Towaoc, Colorado on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation. Both of his parents were Navajo and Ute.

Is Derrick Begay Indian? ›

And Begay, a Navajo from Seba Dalkai, Ariz., is at present the most successful Native American in the sport.

What inspired Begay into physics? ›

English classes were troublesome for Begay, but he easily learned German, which is similar in structure to Navajo, and he quickly picked up science and math concepts. At the urging of professors, Begay changed his major to physics and graduated in 1961, still lacking a high-school diploma.

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