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Contemporary Longhair Kachinas Painting


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Silvester has been a self-taught artist since the age of five!

He won a Youth Division award from the Heard Museum Market when he was only nine, and the museum then bought the award-winning piece Silvester had created.

He has developed into an envelope-pushing contemporary artist who revels in combining materials and techniques.

His images are contemporary and abstract, almost always based on his experiences of Zuni traditions.

This vibrant painting is typical of his abstract imagery, based on traditional subjects.

Two Long Hair kachinas are seen, one in front of the other, against a brilliant blue sky.

Even though they are greatly simplified, they are immediately recognizable.

The feathers atop their masks are similarly abstracted but beautifully detailed with exquisitely fine lines.

The tapered forms, and the fine lines, denoting the spines and individual feathers, are beautifully painted.

Similarly, the beards of the Long Hairs, symbolizing rainfall, are meticulously painted, with subtle shadings, as well.

On either side of the kachinas’ beards, tapered forms alternate between solid, pale gold areas, and realistic – although abstract – wood graining. The blue sky is balanced with these sunny and earthy areas.

The wonderful composition of various triangular and rectangular forms is enlivened by the slight curves of the beards, and the curved horn of one of the kachinas.

And notice that the artist has placed an oval frame around the painting, adding more curves to balance the rigorous geometry.

This wood frame is painted with a favorite technique of Silvester’s: a spatter finish of white, against the shiny black background.

This softened black relates to the grey and black beards, creating an integrated design, and makes the vivid red, lime green, and other colors, really pop.

This remarkable artist lives in New York City, now, and is concentrating on murals, as well as sculpture, but his traditional Zuni upbringing is always close to his heart, and his creativity.

Additional information


Masonite Board, Acrylic Paint, Wood


15 3/8" L x 11 1/4" W