“My hope in developing this new work is to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the communities I live in and I come from, while forming new meaningful relationships with indigenous and non-indigenous communities.”
Steve Yazzie is a recipient of a 2015 Artist Research & Development Grant.
Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.
Steven Yazzie’s newest work is part of a critical body of research that enters into the discourse of contemporary indigenous narratives, both in the art world and in the greater community. He is expanding his previous body of work, The Mountain Project, by incorporating the socially-engaged aspects of another previous work, the Indigenous Tours Project (ITP).
In The Mountain project, Yazzie traversed and summited two of the four outlying sacred mountains for Navajo People, Sis’ naajinni (Blanca Peak), Colorado, and Dookʼoʼoosłíí (San Francisco Peaks), Arizona. The project began as a way to unearth personal and cultural histories by experiencing these specific geographies first hand. In articulating his experience through digital video and photographic artifacts Yazzie enters the role of documentarian, but by exploring alternative visual narrative structures and the power to withhold information, he reexamines the documentary format.
This summer, Yazzie will summit the third peak: Tsoodzil (Mount Taylor) in New Mexico. Instead of a solo journey, he is seeking to expand the narrative from a personal and subjective viewpoint towards issues of sustaining indigenous knowledge, culture and preservation by touring this geography with other indigenous participants, the crux of his previous ITP project. This artist-led excursion will be documented with video and audio, which will become an archive and exist online as a partial outcome from that experience. Through this work, Yazzie hopes to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the communities he lives in and those he comes from, while forming new meaningful relationships with indigenous and non-indigenous communities.
He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Intermedia at Arizona State University and was named the 2014 outstanding graduate for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He also studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. Yazzie has been a part of numerous regional, national, and international exhibitions, most notably at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM. Throughout Arizona, Yazzie has exhibited at the Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona State University Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art and the Museum of Northern Arizona. Yazzie’s work can be found in a number of public and private collections throughout the country. Yazzie has also received a number of regional and national grants; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The National Museum of the American Indian, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Joan Mitchell Award.