Photo credit Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie
Shonto attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools all over the Navajo Reservation and high school in Kayenta. He received an Associate’s of Fine Art degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts. He worked as a National Park Service ranger for ten years at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Navajo National Monument in Arizona. His art has been shown in more than 50 exhibitions in galleries and museums including The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, the American Indian Contemporary Arts ‘s museum in San Francisco and Phoenix Art Museum.
“I have always had a love for art. From a very young age, I found excitement in the experience of drawing. To recreate facets of my universe in varying degrees has always been my life’s adventure. I was born in a hogan in Shonto, Arizona. My parents are traditional Navajo people. My father is a medicine man, and my mother weaves rugs and herds sheep.”
“I am very mindful that painting has saved my life many times over. It is how I’ve been able to dilute and even heal my own personal tragedies.”
“My message is simple. Build bridges through the arts and stories of your culture, validate and share these visions and voices. Celebrate your personal identity through the arts.”