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Tom Yazzie Portrait

Tom Yazzie

Born:
Fort Defiance, Arizona 1930

Active in:

  • New Mexico

Photo Caption:
Originally photographed by Chuck Rosenak. Image is courtesy of the Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, 1990-1999, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Biography

Tom Yazzie served in the U.S. Army between 1947 and 1954. During his off hours, he revived a childhood hobby by using his army-issue bayonet to carve wood. When he returned from Europe his friends encouraged him to begin carving seriously. The inspiration for Yazzie's works depicting Navajo life and ceremonies comes from his brother, a medicine man. He usually carves groups of people and dancers and adds found objects such as feathers and small stones to make them realistic. (Chuck and Jan Rosenak, The People Speak: Navajo Folk Art, 1994)