Shonto Gallery


 

Shonto Gallery was the website for the Flagstaff gallery of Shonto Begay, a Dine’ artist. Shonto Begay’s work is found in more than fifty galleries and museums, including the American Contemporary Arts Museum in San Francisco, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.

Content is from the site's archived pages from 2006-2009, as well as from other outside sources.
For the most up to date info about Shonto Begay go to his facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/shonto.begay.63/
His work is sold at the West of the Moon gallery in Flagstaff, AZ. or online at the MedicineManGallery.com
or at their gallery in Tucson AZ.

2020 Legacy Recipient : Shonto Begay

flagartscouncil.org/



Shonto Begay in his studio and the street below, Photo by Dawn Kish

The Flagstaff Arts Council Board of Directors selected Shonto Begay as a 2020 Viola Legacy Award recipient for his lifelong contribution to the arts. In selecting Begay, the board cited Begay’s generosity, national reputation, and his unwavering support of his community.

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 made his film debut as the character Cowboy in the 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 and others.

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. In 2017, became an Artist in Residence for the Honors Program at Northern Arizona University, where he teaches culture and painting while camping with students on the reservation.

 

~~~~~

An aside: I had seen Shonto Begay's work at the online website of Medicine Man Gallery a while back. I particularly liked his work of landscapes and wild life that I saw online, but really wanted to see his work up close in person. So I decided to plan a road trip that would take me from San Diego through southern Arizona to Tucson into New Mexico, heading north when I reached Las Cruces to Albuquerque and then head west back to California before heading home to San Diego. I planned on hitting as many galleries as possible along the way during these four week drive. I plan on bringing my dog along. Jaks is a Clumber Spaniel. Unlike most spaniels, this breed is a total couch potato, and loves nothing more than curling up on a comfortable bed for the comfortable dog. Typically Jaks will be happy to chill on just about anything, but I plan to bring his favorite dog bed with me on the trip. His bed actually looks like a large round floor pillow which many of my friends have sat down on when they visit thinking it's just that. Fortunately Jaks is so chill he doesn't mind. My first stop in Tucson will be the Medicine Man Gallery. I am really excited to see Shonto Begay's work. Will update later the results of my adventure.

~~~~~

 

A NOSTALGIC LOOK BACK

NOTE: Shonto’s downtown Flagstaff gallery on Aspen Ave. above Downtown Diner has been closed for a number of years.

Paintings that fit your budget and into your backpack


Shonto's Current Events :

Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture
June 29th - 30th 2006
Museum of Northern Az
Flagstaff, Az

~~~

Turquoise Tortoise Gallery
August 4th 2006
First Friday Art Talk
Hozho Center  - 431 Hwy 179
 Sedona, Arizona  86336
www.turqtortsedona.com
928-282-2262

~~~

Petrified National Forest
September 9th - 16th 2006
Artist in residence.
Northeastern Arizona

~~~

Brandy's Restaurant & Bakery
Art on display
September 4th - October 16th
Art Talk & Party on
September 25th ,2006 5:30 - 8pm
www.brandysrestaurant.com

Take a trip Along the Navajo Trail to Shonto Begay’s 8th annual art show at Brandy’s Restaurant & Bakery this September. Begay, an award-winning Navajo painter, illustrator and writer, shares acrylic on canvas works inspired by his journeys. 

“I share visions of my road thus far,” Shonto says. “I offer you the colors, movement and composition of the beautiful land that forges my spirit. These are my journeys through the potholes and avenues of life’s tests and blessings and the sacred land I call my home.”

Shonto, whose paintings are represented at the Turquoise Tortoise Gallery in Sedona and the Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson, says he’s proud of being a part of Brandy’s art show tradition. “I applaud Brandy’s for being one of the first alternative places to see art in Flagstaff,” he says.

 

Shonto Begay - Diné artist

Maternal Clan: Bitter Water      Paternal Clan: Salt Clan

In Navajo, the word Shonto refers to light reflecting off water. A similar glint is in Shonto Begay’s eyes when his paintbrush meets canvas. Shonto’s writings and paintings capture a moment of Diné, the people.

Born on a Navajo reservation sheep camp to a weaver of Tonalea storm patterns and a respected medicine man, as a boy Shonto was removed from his hogan home and forced to attend a government boarding school away from his family and culture. Now he reclaims his identity through his art, balancing the harsh realities of reservation life with the amazing beauty found among its canyons and mesas. “I am very mindful that painting has saved my life many times over,” says Shonto. “It is how I’ve been able to dilute and even heal my own personal tragedies.”

Shonto’s images include truck beds full of families, hitchhikers and mesas that seem to go on forever. From first light upon the red earth to images of Manhattan, his impressionistic brushstrokes depict moments in time that pay homage to his memories or state his concerns about the environment and encroaching development.

Shonto is a volunteer with Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Black Mesa Trust and the Save the Peaks efforts. For more information about Native people, land and resources, visit :www.nativemovement.org  www.swfa.org  www.blackmesawatercoalition.org and www.blackfire.net

“From Beneath The Blanket” acrylic on canvas, 2005

Shonto's multi-award winning work has been featured at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Heard Museum in Phoenix, The Smithsonian Institute, the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum in San Francisco, Arizona State Museum the American Indian Community House Gallery in New York City. His mural work and pen and ink drawings of the Navajo Legend of the Hero Twins are on display at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe.

"Flagstaff Bound," acrylic on canvas, 2003

 

2009

Southwest Indian Art Fair

Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 21 and 22, 2009

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona campus in Tucson

51st Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market
Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, 2009

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2301 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004

First Friday Art Walk

April 3, 2009

Shonto is featured in the Arizona State Museum’s collection, “Connections Across Generations:
The Avery Collection of American Indian Paintings” at the University of Arizona.

“Reclaimed by Silence” acrylic on canvas

Shonto's multi-award winning work has been featured at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Heard Museum in Phoenix, The Smithsonian Institute, the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum in San Francisco, Arizona State Museum the American Indian Community House Gallery in New York City. His mural work and pen and ink drawings of the Navajo Legend of the Hero Twins are on display at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe.

 

“Dancing ith Spirits” acrylic on canvas

 

ShontoGallery.com