Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 24, 2004 - Issue 105


pictograph divider


Michael Naranjo

credits: He Howls Like a Wolf-Heard Museum, The Dancer-Albuquerque Museum Sculpture Garden

He Howls Like A WolfMichael Naranjo was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1944. He grew up in the Tewa Indian pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico. He developed an interest in clay and sculpting as a young boy. His mother was a potter and young Naranjo often helped her prepare her clay by blending various types of clay together with his feet. Later he made figures of animals and sculptures with the clay.

On January 8, 1968 while Naranjo served in the army in Vietnam a hand grenade exploded near him causing him to loose his vision and partial use of his right hand. Luckily, Michael was born with a sixth sense, an inner vision which helped him to retain vivid mental pictures of things he had once seen before him, and as with any "muscle" when put to good use, he began to perfect this inner vision and fulfill his desire to become a sculptor.

And sculpt he does! Be it with a shapeless piece of wax, or a massive chunk of stone, Michael is able to put life into each of his creations. His work shows beauty, form, grace, and strength, all elements which are a part of Michael Naranjo. The patina he chooses is dark, the way he sees each creation, telling a story which is theirs alone.

While recuperating in a hospital bed in Tokyo, Michael nearly gave up his lifelong dream of becoming a sculptor. But, when he fashioned a tiny inchworm with his left hand from some clay given him, the flames of his dream were rekindled. He began to sculpt and mold other figures as he healed. Just as the tiny inchworm moves steadfastly forward, the sculptor's journey began again.

The DancerIn 1969, Michael completed training at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto, California and returned to New Mexico to begin a career as a sculptor. In the more than 30 years that have followed, Michael, has become a sculptor of note. His works are collected by museums and private collectors worldwide. Along the way, he has inspired countless people as a living example of what the human spirit is capable of.

Known as the "artist who sees with his hands," Michael has achieved worldwide recognition for his sculpture, to be sure. He also has become a light in the darkness not only for those with a disability aspiring towards the arts, but to all humankind, as to why it is so important to follow one's ideals. He hopes that through his work, he can stand as an example of what can be done and encourage others to go on.

Naranjo not only creates works of art for sale, but he has his sculptures on display in US museums, the Vatican, and the White House. He also leads sculpture workshops for children and adults and has a sculpture gallery in which he encourages all people to touch the pieces on display.

In addition to world wide recognition, Naranjo was named the Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year in 1999 and during that same year he received the LIFE Presidential Unsung Hero Award.

The Heard Museum Online Exhibition
Michael Naranjo-Heard Museum

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!