Son and grandson of Navajo medicine men, who are also award-winning sand painting artists, Zack follows in their footsteps.
He uses the same hand-sourced, hand-ground, natural materials, fingers-only technique, and traditional subjects as his forebears, but in a contemporary way.
This painting depicts male and female Yei’s, Navajo spirits, dancing at dawn, to invoke rain. That is the most precious resource in the high desert.
The parallel lines symbolize rainfall; the bas-relief circles represent raindrops. Some of the drops have a tiny star, reflected in them.
Since the dance takes place at dawn, the moon and stars are still visible in, but the sky is gradually lightening, toward the horizon.
The various colors and effects result from mixing and blending the powdered materials, just as you would do with paint.
Gypsum is the white, jet the black, lapis and turquoise the blues, ochre is the gold, and red sandstone the russet.
Every element is precise and clear, unless meant to be shaded or diffuse. The artist uses only his fingers and hands to achieve these remarkably crisp designs.
Raised texture, and three-dimensions in some elements are the non-traditional effects that make this sand painting modern, if not contemporary.
Dramatic in size, this is a compelling mix of dimensions, colors, tradition and artistic license, by a new generation.