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Male Navajo Figure

ca. 1962-1964 Charlie Willeto Born: Nageezi, New Mexico 1900 Died: Nageezi, New Mexico 1965 carved and painted wood 66 1/4 x 16 1/2 x 10 1/4 in. (168.3 x 42.0 x 26.1 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.342 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, West Wing


Gallery Label

Charlie Willeto was born in Diné Bikéyah, the homeland of the Diné, or Navajo, and was trained as a tribal healer or medicine man. His carvings were all done in the last few years of his life. They began as elements of a healing ritual, which used doll-like carvings to carry illness away from the afflicted. By making his figures, Willeto challenged a tribal taboo against figural representation in art, but he eventually earned his reputation as a powerful healer and bringer of change. This pair is Willeto’s sole example of life-sized figures; most of his carvings are under thirty inches tall.

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Navajo

Figure male - full length

sculpture

folk art

metal - iron

metal - nails

wood - cottonwood

About Charlie Willeto

Born: Nageezi, New Mexico 1900 Died: Nageezi, New Mexico 1965

More works in the collection by
Charlie Willeto