Loma Qatsi - A Good Life
By Duane KoyawenaHopi is a way of life, and the people have remained in Northern Arizona since time immemorial serving as stewards of the land. The Hopi life has historical roots grounded in morals based on respect, collaboration, reciprocity, and taking initiative. Hopi is lived by giving reverence to all things living in this world, with wishes for all to live free of pain and suffering through peace and harmony.
Hopi is a matrilineal society, and each individual is born into the mother’s clan. Your clan is a source of who you are, and where you came from. Clans have boundaries, roles, and define you and your place within Hopi. As a male, one of the important roles is being the caretaker of our corn fields. Corn serves as the main staple grown through a dry farming technique, relying on rainfall in the desert to nourish the crops. Maintaining a corn field requires patience, structure, discipline, and dedication. Therefore, we refer to the corn as our children, and raise them with the same level of support, and wishes for life as we do our own children.
Tawa, the sun, is also referred as iitana (our father); he is who we pray to for good health, strength, and guidance. Through collective prayer, we share our wishes to the world, and they are also received by our spiritual deities, Katsinam. Katsinam are supernatural beings, who bring prayers and blessings as gifts to the world, in order to encourage the people to live good lives, full of happiness, strength, and healing. Angaktsina (Long-haired Katsina) are rain messengers. They sing beautiful songs about rain, clouds, lightning, with instructions for growing corn and raising children, pure hearts, and striving for a good life. In the room, displayed on the larger wall is a tribute to the renowned artist Micheal Kabotie (Hopi), with the Angaktsina painted in similar fashion as it is my favorite design of his.
About Duane Koyawena (Hopi/Tewa)As a self-taught artist, I have always felt passionate about art since childhood. I was born in Ft. Wainwright, AK, to an Air Force father, Lloyd Koyawena (Hopi), and my mother, Carol Keevama (Tewa/Hopi) and I grew up in Albuquerque, NM, and graduated high school in 1999.
I have definitely put the struggle in the saying “struggling artist,” by having had a serious addiction to alcohol for most of my youth. I gained the appreciation for art, and the passion to explore within my own talent, through osmosis from my father who was also an artist. Sadly, my father lost his life to alcoholism. The devastating loss of my father ironically influenced my own destructive path with alcohol. During this dark period of my life, I lost contact with my art, as it had become impure. In 2008, I took the first steps toward my road to sobriety, and reconnecting with my Hopi way of life.
Through embracing traditional teachings and culture, my life and art are pure again. Drawing and painting allows me to remember my past, and inspires me to keep moving forward positively for my sobriety, my family, and most importantly, my Hopi identity. Through art, I am better able to create positive energy to help myself and others live a balanced and happy life. Today, I compliment my art work with the desire to help others. I currently work in the Behavioral Health department at the Flagstaff Medical Center. It is through this position that I am able to give back to society. I strive to live a good life, one day at a time, with the support of my daughter, family, and friends. With that, I do my best to surround myself with beauty – one pencil or brush stroke at a time.
Learn more at duanekoyawena.com.
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