Deeply Connected: Native American Art

Southwest Art As A Way of Life

Native American art is incredibly unique and diverse. Just as each tribe is distinctive and has its own set of customs and practice, Native American art reflects the inherent differences of each group. Customs, history and religion are highlighted in many of the traditional art pieces, whether Navajo, Hopi or Plains Native Americans.

Today, one of the most popular and contemporary American Indian art forms is jewelry. Traditionally, jewelry was symbolic and carried various meanings. Not only did it adorn, it was believed to protect and sometimes honor the person wearing it. The detail and intricacies inherent in Native American jewelry continues to make it a popular choice. For example, beads are common and are usually carved out of natural materials such as coral, shells, copper, silver, ivory or other stone. Even animal bones or teeth have been used to hollow out and make beads. Historically, sacred ceremonies would incorporate beads. These sacred beads were used to sanction political proceedings or to symbolize treaties and legal agreements. But just like beads played an important role in society, the frequence of specific art pieces shifted from region to region.

Certain art forms are more common in specific areas, and the materials used vary from each tribe. For example, an American Indian Southwest artist might be known for kachina dolls if they’re from the Hopi tribe. Navajos commonly produced woven blankets and rugs, and Pueblo Indians are responsible for unique pottery. Native American and Fauvist artist John Nieto highlights traditional some southwest Indian art concepts in his paintings.

From revered animals and medicine men, to pottery, tribal leaders and young mothers, Nieto dignifies the life of Southwestern Indians through his powerful and colorful portrayals. He also displays the role art plays in the everyday life of the American Indian by including art artifacts in different backgrounds. Much Native American art is based upon spirituality and the unique, diverse components of each tribe makes it impossible to box.

Contemporary Wall Art Featuring Native American Culture

If you are interested in seeing modern day Native American art, visit John Nieto’s art gallery at today to view his latest drawings. 

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