Southwest Indian Arts: Willeto - Navajo Folk Artist
Folk art around the world is receiving attention as a dynamic and must see art form. Often called "outsider art," as it is usually made by individuals outside the realm of academic or studied art, folk art is generally unique to an individual and is often "divinely" inspired. Many traditional forms of American Indian art were once referred to as folk art, but are now treated as cultural and even fine art. Folk art is its own category and there are just a handful of practitioners. I am delighted to offer these sculptures by the "grandfather" of Navajo folk art - Charlie Willeto. My dear and now departed friend Greg LaChapelle collected Willeto's work back in the 1960's and recognized it then as being among the best. In the world of outsider folk art, Willeto's work is known throughout the academic and museum world. Ironically, he is not known in his native southwest. The images shown here were made for the book, Willeto, published by the Museum of New Mexico Press to correct that situation. It was my thrill to sell the book idea to the press to honor Willeto and my friend Greg.