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al qoyawaymaAl QoyawaymaAl Qoyawayma

Al Qoyawayma's Hopi pottery is created in two distinct styles. The first style embodies figurative sculpted reliefs using the repousse' technique, combined with traditional coil construction and tactile stone polished surfaces. The resulting contemporary Hopi pottery calls forth images of the Southwest with its subtle mix of desert hues creating an interplay of light and shadow, so reminiscent of the land of the Hopi. This land and the essence of his ancient relatives nurtures and inspires the artist. Al writes of himself, “I am of the second generation of Hopi beyond the broken pattern, a pattern, a way of life utterly foreign to the western world. With the full influence of western civilization, I am the products of two worlds. Out of our family clan, the Coyote Clan, it was said that we would be the generation to meet the new world and make a change that was our ancient role as the Coyote Clan….to be those who go before. It is only natural that one of our basic survival skills, as exhibited at our ancient home of Sikyatki, should be adapted to today’s world of art. Through the patient hand and guidance of a beautiful teacher, my aunt Polingaysi, I learned the basic techniques and philosophy I now use in my pottery creations. My clay creations reflect the aesthetic influences of the southwest environment and values passed down through our family. Form, textures, contrasts, shadow, the softness of desert color hues are foremost in my work. Oral history and research provide me with themes, continually emerging, which identifies who we were and are; a profound pursuit. At the same time, my repoussé technique provides a “contemporary” style of ceramics. I am not restricted by a particular tradition; rather I’m free to innovate. I find myself trying to “reach” in my creative pursuit, as I strive to bring into focus those things, human and spiritual, just beyond my reach. Creativity will always be my challenge." Most recently, Al won "Best of Pottery" at the 2016 Santa Fe Indian Market and "Best of Pottery" at the 2017 Heard Indian Market.

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Qoyawayma, Al – Polycrome Triangular Box with Moth Man

This triangular “box” by Al Qoyawayma is an exceptional piece of his pottery. The shape is distinctive with the three flat sides and the flat lid.  The three sides allow him space to create his multi-layer carved designs.  On the “back” panel is the classic Month Man which is derived from ancient kiva art. Here he is depicted with a plant design. On the there is a Hopi style bird with cloud and lightning designs above.  On the opposite side is a complex pattern of bird wings and a old style bird near the base.  I included some close shots of the sides to show the real depth of the layers of carving and the textural nature of the corn patterns in the carved areas.  The lid is carved in multiple layers and has a swirled bird and prayer feathers.   The various layers of carving allow for him to give additional depth to the piece.  The colors are all natural clay slips which are often stone polished to create the shine in contrast to the matte surfaces.  The colorations on this piece are stunning and add to the striking appearance and balance of form, sculpture and design!  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.  Simple perfection!

$ 11,000.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Cliff Dwelling and Butterfly

Al Qoyawayma calls the shape of this jar his “Serenity vase”.  It is a distinctive form with the two overlapping spouts. This polychrome jar is carved with a very old style Sikyatki butterfly on one side.  It has various layers of carving which give added depth to the design and the various colors are all from different clay slips. The opposite side has a pueblo cliff dwelling which has areas which are recessed and the entire surface is fully carved!  Note the various shapes of the doors with the keyhole, square the even ones with the fallen beams!    It is a classic piece with a striking balance of designs and form. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 3,900.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Large Full Arch Mesa Verde Jar

This is a spectacular large piece from Al Qoyawayma.  It is one of his architectural pieces from his “Mesa Verde” series.  The oval area is pushed into the clay and then the building is pushed back out from the inside of the bowl. I have included photos of the process, as I think they are both fascinating and also show the incredible skill and time it takes to make a piece like this happen!  Beyond the technical, this large bowl has a very intricate designed Mesa Verde series of buildings. There are the tall towers in the background, both round, and square. In the front is a fully covered kiva with a ladder and an older kiva with the roof missing.  The front has the rocks sculpted into the clay.  Note how Al etches and then paints all the “bricks” that make up the buildings!  This is one of the largest and most complex architectural pieces we have had from Al in several years.  Al’s architectural pieces are among his most iconic works!

$ 18,000.00
Qoyawayma, Al – “Modern Migration” Polychrome Lidded Jar

This large jar by Al Qoyawayma is stunning in his use of numerous clay slips, various levels of carving and his own innovative shape.  Al says his inspiration for his polychrome pieces is to imagine how Hopi Sikyatki pottery might have evolved without western contact. This jar has two sharp shoulders and a central band which is fully carved.  The band is designed with corn, various birds, and prayer feather patterns.  Each is slipped and polished with various clays!  The top has a stylized version inspired by the Migration pattern.  Here there are two sections which are like the historic migration design and they spiral into a larger red parrot and a green eagle. The center of the jar (which is the lid), has a star pattern and then a spiral for the galaxy.  Note the various layers of carving along with all the different colors of clay.  The amount of time to design, carve and polish this jar is extraordinary!  There are over five different clay slips used on this piece!  This piece is a striking balance of form, sculpture, color, and design!  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 17,500.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Double Lobe Jar with Doorways & A Star

This is a thoughtful piece from Al Qoyawayma.  It is one of his architectural pieces, with the pueblo wall scene carved into the center of the jar. The shape has two lobes and the top and bottom part are vertically polished.  It is the center section which is fascinating with three different pueblo doorways and one window, found in ruins throughout the southwest.  Each of these are carved into the clay and note the detail on the walls.  The color variations are created using various clay slips.  Al says about this piece:

There are four opening shapes….only three are doorways. The “cross” or Star design is that used in weavings, pottery and petroglyphs. One could ask “which star”. Well it is likely more emblematic of many different stars depending on location.  The Polynesians used stars to navigate.  A late 1970’s recreation of the double hulled vessel used to navigate the Pacific is called Hokulea, or the “Star of Gladness”.  I like that metaphor. In Hopi, star is “soohu” and gladness is “háalayi”.  Although Hopi and Polynesian language may have no relation I like that “Ho-ku” and “soo-hu” are phonetically similar and “lea” might sound a little like “-layi”.  No matter.  I worked with and was a friend of Hawaiian artist and historian Herb Kané.  I asked if I could create a piece by that name (and he said yes)….and created a star in the motif. So a “long story” short I have an affinity for a star that brings or gives us gladness or happiness…..and especially the “Star of Bethlehem”.

The three doorways can be found in various ruins in the Southwest.  The “tee-door” is the most recognizable.  It’s possible origin in the americas is a much longer discussion. We don’t have a precise story about the T-door shape….at least I don’t, but I like it. It can be found in other locations around the world. The “trapzodial” shaped door is common throughout the Americas, especially pre-Ican precision stone architecture.  The last polygonal shape is just part of a doorway where the beam above the door has rotted away and the outline created by doorway rock falling away….I saw it in a ruin

Al’s architectural pieces are among his most iconic works!  This one encompasses much of the story of his art!

$ 6,900.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Two Spout Polychrome Stirrup Jar

This stirrup jar by Al Qoyawayma is inspired by historic pieces with a similar handle and wide body. The jar has two spouts and he has carved on both sides of the piece.  The design on one side is a wave pattern, while the other has a prayer feather pattern.   The carved areas are also polished, which is striking with this carving of some of the sections!  The ends are carved with a figure and a sun design.  The colors are derived from various clay slips.  The contrast of carved, polished and matte surfaces works beautifully on this piece.  The various layers of carving allow for him to give additional depth to the piece.

$ 8,500.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Harmony Jar with Flowers and Figure

Al Qoyawayma calls the shape of this jar his “Harmony Shape”.  It has an elongated neck and round body.  It is carved on both sides.  One side has flower,s the other a figure.  The carved areas have additional clay slips.  It is simple and elegant, definitely harmonious!   All the various colors are derived from native clays.   It is a classic piece with a striking balance of designs and form.

$ 4,500.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Large Wide Jar with Dancers and Jaguar

Al Qoyawayma often creates vessels based on ancient forms.  This large jar is based on the Gila River forms which were wide and had a low, sharp shoulder.  On this jar, it is fully polished and Al has created a scene with figurative dancers which are pushed out from the inside in the clay. The jar has a procession of dancers encircling the piece.  Each is matte while the area around is polished. The last figure is a small boy and as the jar is turned, he is being chased by a jaguar!  The form and design are both humorous and charming on this piece.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 14,000.00
Qoyawayma, Al – “Uxmal: Governor’s Palace” Bowl

This is a spectacular piece from Al Qoyawayma.  It is one of his architectural pieces with a design which combines both Ancetral Pueblo and Mayan architectural styles. The form of the building is inspired by the Mayan Uxmal Governor’s Palace building with the wide elongated front. The square doors and the straight portico are part of this style.  Al says of this piece, ”

“Uxmal is a site in the Yucatan and was home to about 25,000. The original site was build by the Maya’s and later taken over by Uto-Aztecan speaking Toltecs, as were other locations such as Chichen Itza.  This site has numerous large buildings, pyramids (the largest is the “Pyramid of the Magician”) and the “Nunnery”, along with a large ball court.  The building I am emulating is the “Governor’s Palace” built with very finely cut stone…better than Chaco. It is rectangular….and about 300-400 feet long, 100-150 feet wide and 30-40 feet high. There are two large inset trapezoidal (corbel) arches on the long axis on each side of the building, along with 9 smaller doorways. The trapezoids are filled in with cut stone to form “tee-doors”. A geometric analemma (spiral) patterns (annual path of the sun) are inset in stone next to the doors (but not in my piece), and very impressive. A very long wide paved roadway (sacbe…”white roadway”) intersects the steps of the southeast face of the building, sort of like a royal entrance. This sacbe interconnects Uxmal with Kabah site which also has corbelled arches.  

I was inspired by the visiting the site.  The Pyramid of the Magician has Hopi migration symbols at the top.  Of course, the “Tee door” is emulated throughout the southwest. The Governor’s Palace has a very formal, stately, impressive architecture. Given our Hopi stories of interconnection with the south (Uto-Aztecan speaking Toltec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Aztec, with Hopi being a Northern dialect) and the stories of “red cities to the south with running water, etc, make this structure of natural interest to me. These implications and my visit there created the inspiration for this piece.”

Technically, the architectural scene is created in repousse, as it is pushed out from the clay to create the structures.  They are then refined and incised to create the intricate stone work and various levels.  It is both beautiful and complex as he carried the walls off to the side of the bowl.  Note the color variations on the buildings, which are created using various clay slips.  Al’s architectural pieces are among his most iconic works!

$ 10,500.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Lidded Jar with Mosquito Man Design

This jar is an unusual shape for Al Qoyawayma.  The jar has a base which then extends out to the body of the piece. The entire piece is fully polished tan with one carved area of design. The image is the “mosquito man”, which is seen on Kiva Murals and pre-historic pottery throughout the Southwest.  Note the various levels of carving on this piece from the face of the figure all they way to the stars in the sky. All the various colorations are natural clay slips which are matte and polished.  The lid is another unique shape, which seems to replicate the overall shape of the jar.  It is a stunning piece with a simplicity in form but complexity in the design.

$ 4,500.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Slipper Jar with Jaguar and Bird Men

Al Qoyawayma calls the shape of this jar his “Slipper” pots.  He explains; “It is a shape that is ubiquitous form in pre-historic pottery in areas from Hopi south to Chile.  The figures on the slipper bowls are formed from actual Teotihuacán (Mexico) pottery stamps.  The stamps are genuine with an estimated age of 0-200 AD. The animal representation may be a jaguar or perhaps other smaller animal.  The other 3 figure relief characters I might guess as “bird men”.  I give these stamps and figures respect because of their antiquity. Also, Teotihuacan was very cosmopolitan city and pyramid complex, and is said to have many cultural enclaves, some possibly with ancestors to the Hopi.  Some linguists believe that the Teotihuacán’s spoke Uto-Aztecan, the root language of Hopi.

The slipper pot (or “shoe pots”) are an ancient ubiquitous phenomena found in Chile with the northern most extent at Hopi (and that is interesting).  Even today the shoe pots are beings made in Mexico. There are similar Hopi forms, many with a curved conical “nose” and were used for cooking…so sometimes the pots are referred to as “culinary shoe pots” (archaeologically speaking). My aunt Polingaysi (Elizabeth White) gave me a full explanation of the construction and use of these shoe pots in the 1970’s. Interestingly the pots showed up in an excavation at the village of Sikyatki by Walter Fewkes in 1895. Sikyatki likely occupied by Keres speaking (Laguna and Acoma) group who are the Coyote Clan. My ancestry is of the Coyote Clan.”

$ 5,800.00
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