My Art

             Hozho
             Prismacolor Pencil
             Collection  of Eddie Basha at Basha's Corporate Headquarters
             in Chandler AZ
                                                                                                                                                                           
We Navajo perceive the universe as an all-inclusive whole in which everything has its own place and unique and beneficial relationship to all other living things. Humans, animals, plants, and mountains are harmonic components of the whole. It is the responsibility of humans to honor and maintain this balance
The all-inclusive nature of the universe means that all forces are integrated— good and evil, natural and supernatural, male and female — into a state of balance and harmony expressed by the word Hozho'. People who become involved in an act that disrupts this balance may be made ill by the forces thereby unleashed Navajo interactions with this powerful environment are characterized by a strong sense of connectedness to and respect for all living things, including the earth, which is personified as the beloved deity, Changing Woman or as a similar deity in the Lakota Indians White Buffalo Calf Woman. An important aspect of maintaining harmonious relations with the universe is the recognition of humankind’s place in the web of life and the acceptance that nature is more powerful than humans
We Navajo do not have a central place of worship, and there is no word or phrase in their language which could possibly be translated as “religion.”
Religion is not a separate entity to be believed in or subscribed to, it is ever present. It could no more be separated from the traditional Navajo’s daily life than eating, breathing, sleeping, or the ground he walks on which gives him substance, the sun which gives him warmth or the summer lightning which gives him fear. Religious rites and practices are an essential element in nearly every aspect of traditional Navajo culture, pervading it to such an extent that, paradoxical as it may seem.
To the Navajo and all Indigenous people, everything is sacred: The rigid distinction that exists in most Western minds between the daily round of work and play, on the one hand, and religion, on the other is nonexistent for the Navajos. On a daily basis, the order and continual regeneration inherent in the cosmos — the changing seasons, night and day, life and earth — serves as a constant reminder of how to live one’s life in balance, in a state of Hozho. The traditional Navajo awakens with the dawn and scatters pollen to the east outside the hogan. At night outside the tipi that is set up for the Peyote Way Ceremony one observes the constellations, through the moral stories they index as well as through their repetitive cyclical movements serve as a constant reminder of the right way to live one’s life
The prevailing values of non-Native American culture have led to a country whose oceans and streams are polluted, and where the air is often too choked to breathe. The modern Euro-American lifestyle is too often emotionally overtaxing, highly pressured, materially oriented, and spiritually depleted. We have come to expect immediate gratification and to be entertained through the media rather than learning to draw on our own powers of imagination and insight. To them those of us who stand up for Mother Earth are labeled as eco-terrorists as at Standing Rock, when what they do not realize that it is in the essence of who we are as a people, how respect and reverence for Mother Earth is ingrained unto our psyche and how we view our role as care takers of Mother Earth.
Walk in Beauty or Everywhere I Walk There is Beauty is a Navajo prayer and phrase often quoted as representing the essence of Navajo philosophy. It is a translation of a Navajo phrase that expresses our view of how to live a proper life. Hozho' is Beauty is a central idea in Navajo thinking, but it means far more than outward appearance: it means order, harmony, blessedness, pleasantness, everything that is good, not evil, everything that is favorable to mankind, this being the overall goal to which everyone and everything should strive. “Death of old age was desirable, because it brought contentment with it in this life and no fear in the next.
Two other concepts essential to the Navajo view of an ordered, structured universe are those of the Holy Wind, and the inner forms. A firm understanding of these concepts is essential for appreciating the symbolism
After their emergence onto the earth’s surface, wind and inner forms were placed within all living things as a source of life, movement, speech, and behavior. Rather than being an independent spiritual agency that resides within the individual, like the Western notion of the soul, Holy Wind is a single entity that exists everywhere and in which all living beings participate... This means that all living beings are related and that nothing exists in isolation. Furthermore, breath and speech are intimately related to the concept of Holy Wind. also refers to air and thus involves the act of breathing. The act of breathing is a sacred act through which the individual participates in an ongoing relationship with all other living beings On breathing, the Yei' or Holy People enter one’s lungs and are both a part of the breather as well as his being a part of and linked to all other beings. Thus by breathing, one has direct access to the thought and speech of the Holy People
Fingerprints and toe prints are expressions of the Holy Wind. “The whorls at the tips of our toes hold us to the Earth. Those at our fingertips hold us to the Sky. Because of these, we do not fall when we move about.”
When the wind ceases to blow inside us, we become speechless. Then we die. In the skin at the tips of our fingers we can see the trail of that life giving wind. Each person has a wind that exists within, which provides the means for breathing, moving, thinking, and talking. This wind arrives upon conception, sent by the Holy People from the four directions, and it is at the same time both part of the universal Wind and also made up of elements of that Wind. Accounts vary as to how many elements are involved, but two key ones. One is thus born in the ideal Navajo state . From the medicine bundle of First Man arose Sh'ah naagh1i (Long Life), who would be the primary thought, the thinking, of all the Holy People, and Bik'eh Hozho' (Happiness), who would be their speech. In this way, thought is seen as the power of creation, and speech is the means to its active realization.
In this drawing I try and incorporate some some these traditional concepts into the design. The central figure is representation of a Navajo Yei bi Chi' Mask and also Mother Earth. Made of deer hide and adorned with golden eagle tail feathers, which is the half circle of feathers emulating from the mask. Golden and bald eagle feathers represent one's connection to the Creator as the eagle is who flies close to Creator and is what Indigenous Peoples use in prayer fans, hair decorations, and various types of dance outfits. Arrowheads, horse hair, turquoise,shells and personal medicine objects also are used, this was worn during the Nine day Nightway Ceremony. Under the mask is the spruce collar which also symbolizes water or waves of water indicating consistency of the universe The parallel bars represent the wind mentioned above and the crosses represent the four, directions, the four scared colors, the four elements, earth, wind , fire and air and the four races of man. The zig zag designs represents lighting or fire. Symmetry is a basic Navajo design concept used consistently in our rugs and sand paintings. I always start my designs in the middle and draw outwards. My training in Architectural Design combined with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing and then juxtaposing traditional Navajo designs and concepts into a contemporary art format is how I come up with these designs. This is drawn primarily with metallic copper and gold pencil also representing two metals use in jewelry making another important and well known Navajo art form on a black background simulates the night time sky full of glittering stars or more specifically he Pleiades where traditional legends points to the home of the Holy People and thus the place of our origins

 
Buffalo Nation
Monotype
 Private Collection


Monotype
 Private Collection


 "Dance of the Yeis"
Prismacolor Pencil
 Private Collection


The universe of The Navaho contains two classes of personal forces. There are the Earth Surface People, living and dead; these are ordinary human beings. Then there are the Yei or Holy People. They are not "holy" in the sense of possessing moral sanctity, for often their deeds have a very different odor. They are "holy" in the meaning of "powerful and mysterious," of belonging to the sacred as opposed to the profane world. They travel about on sunbeams, on the rainbow, on the lighting. They have great powers to aid or to harm Earth Surface People. But it is better not to call them
gods because the word "god" has so many connotations which are inappropriate. The Holy People are not portrayed as all-knowing or even as all-powerful. They certainly are not depicted as wholly good. While they are supplicated and propitiated, they may also be coerced. Probably coercion is indeed the dominant note. In general, the relationship between them and the Earth Surface People is very different from what Christians think of as the connection between God and man.
As described in the Navaho Apache origin myth, the Holy People lived first below the surface of the earth. They moved from one lower world to another because of witchcraft practiced by one of them. In the last of the twelve lower worlds the sexes were separated because of a quarrel, and monsters were born from the female Holy People. Finally a great flood drove the Holy People to ascend to the present world through a reed. Natural objects were created. Then came the first death among the Holy People. About this time too, Changing Woman, the principal figure among them, was created. After she reached puberty, she was magically impregnated by the rays of the Sun and by water from a waterfall, and bore twin sons. These Hero Twins journeyed to the house of their father, the Sun, encountering many adventures and slaying most of the monsters. In the course of all these events, the Holy People developed ways of doing things which were partly practical and partly magical. When they decided to leave for permanent homes at the east, south, west, north, the zenith, and the nadir, they had a great meeting at which they created the Earth Surface People, the ancestors of the Navahos, and taught them all the methods they had developed, so that The People could build houses, obtain food, marry, travel, and trade and could also protect themselves against disease, hunger, and war. After the Holy People had departed, the various clans of the Navahos wandered in the east and the west, and at last there was a great meeting of all of them in the region where they now live.
Changing Woman is the favored figure among the Holy People. She had much to do with the creation of the Earth Surface People and with the meeting at which they were taught how to control the wind, lightning, storms, and animals, and how to keep all these forces in harmony with each other. This meeting was a ceremonial of the Holy People and has become Blessing Way, a ritual which occupies a key position in the Navaho "religious system." Changing Woman, ever young and ever radiant in beauty, lives in a marvelous dwelling on western waters. Some Navahos say that Changing Woman had a younger sister, White Shell Woman, who was the mother of one of the Hero Twins, Child of the Water. Others claim that Changing Woman and White Shell Woman are one and the same being. Turquoise Woman and Salt Woman also seem almost to be variants of Changing Woman, different names for different aspects of her story and her activities. Next to Changing Woman in importance is her husband, the Sun. Sun symbolism is all-pervasive in Navaho religion.. Sun's Weapons which aid man in controlling the recalcitrant elements in the universe." The Hero Twins-Monster Slayer and Child of the Water (sometimes called Reared-within-the-Earth and Changing Grandchild) are invoked in almost every Navaho ceremonial. Their adventures establish many of the Navaho ideals for young manhood. They serve especially as models of conduct in war and can almost be called the Navaho war gods. The Hero Twins slew most of the monsters, but they did not kill all of these potential enemies of mankind. Hunger, Poverty, Old Age, and Dirt survived, for they proved to have a place in human life. The exploits of the Twins, as well as those of other Holy People, define many features of the Navaho landscape as holy places. The lava fields, which are so conspicuous in the Navaho country, are the dried blood of the slain monsters.
Changing Woman, the Sun, and the Hero Twins are the four supernatural beings who seem to bulk largest in the religious thought and lore of The People. In the background are First Man and First Woman, who were transformed from two ears of white and yellow corn, and others prominent in the stories of life in the lower worlds. Most of The People believe that First Man created the universe, but another version of the incident, possibly due to Christian influence, pictures a being called be'gochidi as the creator of the world. Another group of Holy People are the Failed-To-Speak People, such as Water Sprinkler, Fringed Mouth, Hunchback, and others who are impersonated by masked dancers in the public exhibitions of the great chants. Still another type are the animals and personalized natural forces like Coyote, Big Snake Man, Crooked Snake People, Thunder People, and Wind People. Finally, there are various helpers of the supernaturals and intermediaries between them and man. Big Fly is "the messenger of gods and of men." He and Corn Beetle whisper omens and advice to Earth Surface People who are in trouble.
The origin myth is told with variations by different narrators, but it shows a good deal of consistency in most of its central elements, and defines for the Navahos many of their basic conceptions of life. It tells The People that, from time immemorial, the universe has been a very dangerous place, inhabited by people who were untrustworthy, if not completely evil. True, not all of the Holy People are unfriendly to Earth Surface People. Changing Woman gave corn and other valuable gifts to them. Spider Woman and Spider Man taught them how to weave. Two of the Holy People helped Woman Speaker's husband, Bent Man, to escape from the place of ghosts. Spider Man established four warnings of death or disaster: noise in the windpipe, ringing in the ear, twitching in the nose, and pricking of the skin on the body. If these warnings are heeded-and The People take them very seriously-something may be done to avert the danger, or at least to postpone or lessen it.
But of these beings and powers, of whom we have mentioned only a few, Changing Woman alone is consistently well-wishing to the Earth Surface People. The other beings are undependable, even though they may have given mankind many of their prized possessions. The Sun and the Moon demand a human life each day; the Hero Twins are often pitiless; First Man is a witch; Coyote is a trickster. When Woman Speaker died and was buried by First Boy and First Girl, she gave them ghost sickness because they did not put her left moccasin on her right foot and her right moccasin on her left foot, as they should have done. All of these beings except Changing Woman-and many others as well-are forever present to Navaho consciousness as threats to prosperity.



Diné Bi Beehaz’áanii Bitsi Siléí Diyin Dine'é
Sin dóó sodizin Bee
Nahasdzáán dóó yádiłhił nitsáhákees yił hadeidiilaa,
Tó dóó dził diyinii nahat'á yił hadediilaa,
Niłch'i dóó nanse' ałtaas'éí iiná yił hadediilaa,
Ko', adinídíín dóó ntł'iz náádahaniihjį' sihasin yił hadeidiilaa.
Díí ts'ídá aláají nihi beehaz'áanii bitse siléí nihá' ályaa.
Nitsáhákees éí nahat'á bitsé silá.
Iiná éí sihasin bitsé silá.
Hanihi' diilyaadi díí nihiihdaahya' dóó bee hadíníit'é.
Binahji' nihéého'dílzingíí éíí:Nihízhi', Ádóone'é niidlíinii,
Nihinéí', Nihee ó'ool ííł, Nihi chaha'oh,
Nihi kék'ehashchíín.
Díí bik'ehgo Diyin Nohookáá Diné nihi'doo'niid.
Kodóó dah'adíníísá dóó dah'adiidéél.
Áko dííshjįįgi nitsáhákees, nahat'á, iiná, saad, oodlą',
Dóó beehaz'áanii ał'ąą ádaat'éego nihitah nihwiileeh,
Ndi nihi beehaz'áanii bitsé siléí nhá ndaahya'áá t'ahdii doo łahgo ánééhda.
Éí biniinaa t'áá nanihi'deelyáhąą doo níłch'i divin hinááh nihiihdaahya'ąą ge'át éigo,
T'áá Diné niidlįįgo náásgóó ahool'á.


We, the Navaho (Dine'), the people of the Great Covenant, are the image of our ancestors and we are created in connection with all creation.The Holy People ordained,
Through songs and prayers,That Earth and universe embody thinking, Water and the sacred mountains embody planning, Air and variegated vegetation embody life, Fire, light, and offering sites of variegated sacred stones embody wisdom. These are the fundamental tenets established. Thinking is the foundation of planning. Life is the foundation of wisdom.Upon our creation, these were instituted within us and we embody them. Accordingly, we are identified by:Our Diné name,
Our clan, Our language, Our life way, Our shadow, Our footprints.
Therefore, we were called the Holy Earth-Surface-People. From here growth began and the journey proceeds.Different thinking, planning, life ways, languages, beliefs, and laws appear among us,
But the fundamental laws placed by the Holy People remain unchanged.
Hence, as we were created with living soul, we remain Diné forever.
(from the Fundamental Laws of the Navaho)

 "Cheyenne Legacy"
Monotype
 Private Collection

 "Listen to What We Have to Say"
Monotype
 Private Collection

 "Among our People , There is Wisdom"
Monotype
Private Collection 

Three Masks
Prismacolor Pencil
 Collection  of Eddie Basha at Basha's Corporate Headquarters
in Chandler AZ

Serenity
Pastel
 Private Collection

Creation Story
Watercolor
Collection  of Eddie Basha at Basha's Corporate Headquarters
in Chandler AZ 
 

Waterbird & Ayani' (Buffalo)
Monotype
 Private Collection

 
Navajo Destiny
Monotype
 Private Collection

A Buffalo Nation is Coming
Monotype
 Private Collection

Hero Twins
Best of Show
2005 Lawrence Indian Arts Show
University of Kansas
 Private Collection

Indigo Girls World Tour Poster 
Honor the Earth Poster
Monotype

Untitled
Monotype
 Private Collection


Navajo Protector
Monotype
 Private Collection


Miceous Clay Mask

 Private Collection


Mother Earth Father Sky
Acrylic Adobe on canvas
Private Collection

Temple of the Earth
Stone Lithograph
available 
$150.00 unmatted


Holy Person
Prismacolor Pencil 
$500.00 15"x 22" unmatted
available

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