Eagle Figure: “The Journey of our Prayers”

Joe Cajero Jr.



This multiple award-winning potter, famous for his marvelously sculpted and often humorous clay figures, was recently named a “Treasure of New Mexico”, along with his jeweler wife, Althea.

His artistic journey has led him to work more and more in bronze, but this wonderful figure is a stand-alone original.

He has combined his deep spirituality and unbounded creativity in this extraordinarily powerful clay sculpture.

The eagle is known as the sacred Guardian of the Skies. Eagles fly so high, they carry prayers from the earth, up to the heavens.

In the arid southwest, rain and water are among the greatest blessings, and the subject of frequent prayers.

In this imposing figure, the design progresses from the bottom, where a stepped kiva, sacred place of ceremonies and prayers, contains a raincloud and falling rain.

To the side, an angular spiral refers to wind, storm and water.

Curling upward from the kiva, on the opposite side, a series of curved and tapered forms are etched into parallel lines meaning rainfall, and then deeply carved with a red and a white painted line.

These horizontal lines may symbolize the dry red earth.

Those wing-like shapes connect directly with the lightning and raindrops falling from a large white cloud, just below the eagle’s throat.

The entire design depicts the trajectory of the prayers’ journey, from earth to the sky, via the eagle.

Carefully and naturalistically sculpted in clay, the eagle’s head is fiercely realistic, painted in exquisite detail, and flows directly into a  splendid, large wing.

Neck, throat and gracefully powerful wing, are carved in bas-relief, standing out literally, from the pinky-beige base clay.

The vigorous wing is wrapped around the columnar form of the piece, as if embracing and protecting the people, whose prayers for rain are being answered.

Notice how the artist has graduated the size of the feather, from largest and boldest at the edge of the wing, to almost indistinguishable, at the tip of the head,

The eagle’s expression burns with piercing focus, yet radiates calm strength, as well.

With graceful and vigorous modeling, and a calming palette of earthy, natural hues, the artist has conveyed an entire story, visually.

This vehement protector will guard your home with its beauty and tranquil strength, ready to carry your prayers with him.

A beautiful story, cloaked in a beautiful form by a major artist.

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