By happenstance we met Corey Begay - Diné (Navajo) artist - in Portland, ORE. Immediately, we were drawn to their unique skill set in articulating a contemporary Indigenous existence which is simultaneously informed by traditional teachings. It is this duality where many of us exist - living out our lives in a contemporary context, while being ever-informed by our traditional values and beliefs. Ultimately - we create, we exist, we move forward. This is our path.
Returning from the Warm Springs community in Central, ORE - we crested a hill on the road to be encountered by a large black bear walking Westward. No one was startled - looking at each other in this brief encounter and then moving forward as our paths diverged. This year we have been thinking about this encounter - about messengers, teachers, relatives, ancestors, and how we will one day be ancestors. How will we be remembered? What will we leave behind? In what ways will we do so?
Corey Begay says, "There isn't a direct translation of the word Naasgó in English. In Navajo, the primary meaning is "the action of moving forward" and it can also be used to describe persevering, taking steps, and sentiments like these. Below the Bear is the Land and above the bear is the Cloud, which can be seen in the day, and the Star, which can be seen in the night. Though the bear is usually a night-walker animal, the presence of the cloud here means that this bear is a lighter day-traveler.
The glasses signify modern culture, any living thing's character/personality. I like to use the glasses in my artwork as a somewhat of signature for myself because I wear glasses and that glasses allows one to look through a lens or frame for a better vision."