Grandson and son of Navajo medicine men, who are also noted sand painting artists, Zack continues in their footsteps, using the same natural materials, technique, and traditional subjects.
In this imposing close-up, the subject is Talking God, the leader of the Night Way, Yebechei ceremony. The artist has written on the back:: ” Talking God’s Blessings. Talking God is representing the dawn. He is the sun, his feathers are the sun rays at dawn. The background represents the beauty at that time. The bluebird is there as guidance.” A turquoise cornstalk rises in the center of the face, rising from a stepped design that can symbolize the earth, as well as rain. The cornstalk represents the result of the Talking God’s blessings: an abundant harvest resulting in health, happiness and prosperity.
Using traditional materials that are hand-ground into sand-like particles, the artist created wonderfully modulated colors, various textures and shaded effects. That makes the sand painting contemporary, rather than ceremonial, but even more imposing.
Mixing and blending natural ocher, red sandstone, white gypsum, turquoise, lapis and jet, he achieved a swirling, combination of vivid color and neutrals, with both crisp definition and subtle variations. A powerful, but pleasingly colorful picture that continues tradition in a modern way, by the next generation of this noted sand painting family.