His father, world-renowned sand painter, Joe Ben Jr., is a Navajo Medicine Man, as well. Zach is studying to become a medicine man, too.
In addition, he is also following in his father’s footsteps in the art of sand painting.
This dynamic design is explained by the artist, on the back of the piece.
“The lightning in the center is the first strike after winter. The black texture is mimicing (sic) the crackling & power of the lightning.
The rainbows are representing the beauty of the lightning. The flash is on the outside.
The stars are flustered and dancing around the first strike.” As is traditional, stars are represented as croses.
All the colors are hand-ground, natural minerals, just like traditional, ceremonial sand paintings.
However, the design of the piece is personal to the artist, and the various shaded combinations of colors are contemporary.
Materials range from gypsum, for the white, to volcanic ash for the black. Ochre, lapis, and ash are mixed on the sides, for a celestial effect.
Terrifically dramatic, this bold sand painting expresses traditional beliefs, despite its contemporary look.
A new generation of medicine man/sand painters is emerging in this gifted young man.