Jesse Monongya: Opal Bears and Lapis Skies
Lois Sherr Dubin reveals one of the finest Native American jewelers alive today. Jesse Monongya, of Navajo and Hopi heritage, is a world-renowned master of painterly inlay, whose work rivals that of the Renaissance goldsmiths. "There's a tactile sense to it. I think his jewelry also has much to do with sculpture," says one of his collectors. Monongya himself explains it as his birthright: "I grew up with beautiful songs and prayers. The way that I do things is not so much because I want to, but it was instilled in me, and that's the way it comes out."
His jewelry is fully described here for the first time, in 175 striking color plates by acclaimed photographer Togashi, as inspired by the southwestern desert landscape and traditional teachings in which he was raised - the coral sunset shading into the lapis night, an opal moon and turquoise stars in a jet sky. Monongya combines authentic concepts from his culture with cutting-edge materials and techniques. The qualities that inform his life - reciprocity, respect, and creativity - are what make him special, and his work reflects his deep desire to communicate his culture to the world at large.
Jim Hart Carver jeweler and hereditary chief Haida Nation British Columbia
Diana Pardue Curator of Collections Heard Museum Phoenix
Susan Harnly Peterson Ceramicist educator author collector
The Bracelet Behind the Book
Growing Up Navajo Becoming Jesse
Learning From the Masters
Connecting the Old Ways with Todays Jewelry
14-karat gold Acoma jet American lndian Arizona artists Barbara and Mel bear pendant beautiful Belt Buckle Best of Show Big Dipper Bolo Bolo Tie bracelet Bruce Jacobs butterfly ceremony Charles Loloma Collection Barbara colors coral corn pollen culture Dinetah dolomite eagle Edaakie father Gallup Gold-Lip Pearl Oyster grandfather Grandmother Grey Hills Haida Heard Museum hogan Hopi horse Hotevilla imagery inlaid James Sherman Jesse Monongya Jesse's jewelers Jim Hart Joe Tanner Katsina l've lapis lazuli Larry Calof Lee Yazzie Length lndian jewelry lndian Market lt's malachite Marquetta mastodon ivory Mel Felsot Monument Valley moon mountains Navajo necklace night sky opal Peggy Phoenix piece pollen Preston Monongye Private collection Pueblo ring rock says Jesse Scottsdale Shanidiin shell shooting star silver Southwestern Spider Grandmother Spider Woman spirit stone sugilite sun face Susy and Larry Tanner's lndian Arts things tufa-cast turquoise turtle weaving