Brother of internationally collected contemporary sand painter Joe Ben Jr., Darrel prefers to execute finely detailed traditional motifs. Son of a medicine man, he knows the authentic designs, but always alters some details so as to prevent wasting the power that the piece represents. The artist has written on the back: “This is a Navajo ceremonial sandpainting design made out of natural color sandstones.” The title refers to the spirits represented in the design. True to real ceremonial sand paintings, the two sacred mountains are at the top, a rainbow yei encircles the whole (only here there is no head or feet, only eagle feathers) Supposedly, the four seasons are represented, along with night and day, males and females, with the four sacred plants that are supposed to be in the corners. Only three are shown here, and each of the four Yeis are single, not in pairs.There are lots of other tweaks to the real ceremonial design, but the result is just as intricate and decorative. All the colors are natural, hand-ground rocks: white is gypsum; turquoise is turquoise, russet is red sandstone, black is jet, and the various hues of browns and greys, are hand-mixed combinations of these. Every bit is filtered through the artist’s fingers and, sometimes, the creases in his palm: For instance, the dots and the teeny lines. The design follows the Navajo ideal of symmetry and balance, with delicacy, verve and lovely detail.
Width: 18″ Height: 18″