From the Artist - Jay Smiley:
“Winds of Change” illustrates the power wind carries as well as its significance in Navajo creation stories. Originally another subject was in mind, but when Jay entered the room, he was asked to paint, the wind coming off the Sandias was strong that morning; blowing through the room, his thoughts became about the wind. Around the room Jay attempts to capture the characteristics of wind; flow, rhythm, movement, color, spontaneity, softness, excitement, aggression and love. In Navajo creation stories, the wind (ní ch’i) is what gave life to the Diné peoples. Wind is what networks all of nature, giving life and the power of motion to all living things. Wind lives in the four cardinal directions and is creator of the beautiful landscapes found within the four sacred mountains, which you will see in Jay’s room: To the east - white; south - turquoise; west - yellow; and north - black. Energy and vibration are carried through the environment by wind and represented in the symbols used throughout the installation. The Zia symbol was used again to represent the four directions and the land of enchantment which is New Mexico. The final act in many traditional ceremonials is to stand and breathe in the air, to again fill the lungs with the wind, and to remember Hózhó (to walk in beauty).
About Jay Smiley (Navajo):
Jay Smiley is from the Navajo Nation, Arizona and creates a mixture of abstract, contemporary and street influenced paintings. Jay was raised valuing Ké (kinship/family) and Diné (Navajo) tradition while having been immersed in pop culture, hip-hop, expression and dance from a young age. Art and culture have become a lifestyle for Jay, his paintings are a way to give back to his community and are for the world to see. Jay uses aerosol spray paint, acrylic, stencils, and pen to combine his understanding of traditional Native teachings and modern art technique – helping to find balance in a complex modern world. He uses the four sacred colors of his tribe and Indigenous symbols to accomplish this vision; capturing visual landscapes, abstract figures, and his emotions. As a member of the established art collective “Medicine Paint Dream Warriors,” Jay finds inspiration from this circle of artists and is proud of their accomplishments as a whole. Jay Smiley can usually be found live painting at a music festival, night club or community event and has found a niche for entertaining the crowd with personal style and artistic flow. Jay feels his most cherished moments have been spent working on the many murals scattered throughout the Southwest from Lower Antelope Canyon Tours to a collaboration piece with kids from the community in Navajo, New Mexico and the IMPACT project.