Art and American Indians

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Collective Willeto: The Visionary Carvings of a Navajo Artist

Shonto Begay

Navajo medicine man Charlie Willeto (1897–1964) was also an artist—known for his ritualist figures of human and animal forms that carry the potency of the Navajo spirit while transcending to the realm of the mythic—who took up carving late in his life and found himself at the forefront of Navajo folk artists. This book presents some one hundred of Willeto’s alluring visionary figures, and the accompanying essays discuss Willeto’s remarkable art and life, including the taboo nature of Willeto’s art.


Shonto Begay is an artist, author, lecturer, and Navajo cultural educator.


“Navajo medicine man Charlie Willeto spent the last years of his life prodigiously carving figures of wood, becoming a well-known personage in Navajo folk art. Although he died in 1964, his work lives on in this glossy collection of essays and photographs, which depict one hundred of his carvings in full-color reproductions.”


Library Journal

Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

8.5 x 10.5 in. 128 pages 100 color photographs