Artist's Statement


I am of the second generation of Hopi beyond the broken pattern, a pattern, a way of life totally foreign to the western world. With the full influence of western civilization I am the products of two worlds. Out of our family clan, the Coyote Clan, it was said that we would be the generation to meet the new world and make changes...... that was our ancient role as the Coyote Clan.... to be those who go before. It is only natural that one of our basic survival skills, as exhibited at our ancient home of Sikyatki, should be adapted to today's world of art. Through the patient hand and guidance of a beautiful teacher, my aunt Polingaysi, I learned the basic techniques and philosophy I now use in my pottery creations.

My clay creations reflect the aesthetic influences of the southwest environment and values passed down through our family. Form, textures, contrasts, shadow, the softness of desert color hues are foremost in my work. Oral history and research provide me with themes, continually emerging, which identifies who we were and are; a profound pursuit. At the same time my repoussé technique provides a "contemporary" style of ceramics. I am not restricted by a particular tradition, rather I'm free to innovate. I find myself trying to "reach" in my creative pursuit, as I strive to bring into focus those things, human and spiritual, just beyond my reach. Creativity will always be my challenge.

Pottery is more than a physical creation. It embodies both the earthiness of our heritage and a spiritual commitment. Grandmother passed down the spiritual tradition which she asked us to commit to our heart; she said:

"We do not walk alone,
Great Spirit walks besides us,
Always know this,
and be grateful."

The metaphor of the clay has not been lost, for we know in part, as Isaiah said:

"We are the clay,
the Lord is our potter;
We are all a work of His hand."

So I must work humbly when I pick up the humblest of earth's material, the clay. By Grace my Creator gave me everlasting hope. My clay gives me an artist's life.

Al Qöyawayma
July 1997