The Gallery at Rancho Ellenita
Harison Begay
Haskay Yahne Yah

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Begay, whose Dineh (Navajo) name means “Warrior Who Walks up to His Enemy,” was born at White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation on November 15, 1917. His mother was a member of the Red Forehead Clan and his father was an adopted member of the Zuni Deer Clan, which may be the reason so many of his paintings feature deer and fawns.

In 1934, he enrolled in the Indian School in Santa Fe (later known as the Institute of American Indian Art), where he studied under Dorothy Dunn. During World War II, he served in the Signal Corp in the Normandy Campaign, Iceland, and Europe.

His early paintings focused on war and hunting, which in time gave way to gentle, idealized scenes from everyday reservation life and ceremonial Navajo life. One of his significant commissions came when he was asked by the Museum of Northern Arizona to execute four paintings depicting the religious significance of the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo. His favorite medium is watercolor with acrylic base which enables him to catch the muted tones and style of ceremonial sandpaintings.

Among his many awards, in 1954, he was awarded the Palmes d’Academiques by the French Government and in 2001, he was declared a Living Treasure by the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Association. His work remains popular through out the world, and is especially prized by Japanese collectors for it almost Oriental air.

Navajo Shepardess
9.5" x 12.75"

Yei Grandfather
9.5" x 12.75"

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