Native Nations, Native Voices--Laguna Pueblo artist DeHaven Solimon Chaffins

Gordon Bronitsky g.bronitsky at
Tue Nov 23 02:33:13 UTC 2004

  	Native Nations, Native Voices is honored to announce that Laguna
Pueblo artist DeHaven Solimon Chaffins has been chosen as the Native
artist to create the image and poster for the festival.  DeHaven was
born on May 24, 1968 in Portsmouth, Virginia.  She attended the
Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she
received her AFA in 1990.  She then attended the College of Fine Arts
at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, receiving her BFA in

	In her own words, “Traveling throughout the United States at a very
young age meant not only experiencing the different people and places
but it also gave me a sense of how precious my Pueblo heritage was.  My
parents never let us forget who we were and where we had come from,
whether we were standing on the beach in California, or on the Plains
of Wyoming.  However, it was early on in my childhood that I had the
great honor of living with my grandparents and uncles in the Village of
Paguate.  My earliest memories are of going sledding with my Uncle
Benny down snow-packed roads, or watching my grandmother make blueberry
pies in her outside oven.  But in all my precious memories, I remember
how she would sit in her chair and sketch out her abstract embroidery
design.  For me, she was the first artist who inspired me to draw.
Though she has been gone for many years now, she still inspires me.”
	“While most Native artists here in the Southwest have primarily
concentrated on the image of the Kachina, I wanted to create an image
with a similar profound feeling but without producing the traditional
image of the sacred beings.  For me as an artist, looking into the past
meant moving into the future in terms of imagery.  The process in which
I have tried to achieve this is I have taken the traditional
iconography of the Kachina to an abstract and minimal state.  The most
important element has been the minimal representation of the eye of the
Kachina, within my work.  The eye(s) see everything, both physically
and mentally.  In addition, the idea of birth, death and rebirth often
play a major role within my imagery.  The main reason why I have chosen
these areas from within my Pueblo religion is because of the
association with ceremony and ritual.  I have always tried to push
myself into a deeper way of thinking about what ceremony and ritual
meant.  I supoose it is the image behind the words of a prayer.  My
imagery is my interpretation.  The imagery which I create is only a
fragment, hidden under various amounts of pigment, but the meaning is
still strong, from a ceremonial perspective.  This process gives me the
opportunity to go back into a painting or drawing and to scrape away
certain areas, leaving in its place a ghost-like transparency.  It is
my belief that in this mysterious place of birth, death, and rebirth
live deities who remain and inspiration and a reflection of a prayer.
It is in honor of my son, Skye Hunter Chaffins who passed away two
weeks away from his second birthday in June of 1998, that much of my
work is dedicated to.”

	We are delighted to have her on board and we look forward to the image
she will create.  Please let me know if you would like more information
about this outstanding artist.

Gordon Bronitsky

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