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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Michael Kabotie, 1942-2009:
Swine Flu Claims Hopi Artist
by Douglas Fairfield - The (Santa Fe, NM) New Mexican
credits: {credits}
Famed Hopi artist Michael Kabotie died Oct. 23 in Flagstaff, Ariz., from complications due to the H1N1 flu. He was 67. According to his daughter, Meg Adakai, Kabotie had been ill weeks prior to his death.

"Michael Kabotie has been an active participant at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture's Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival for the past five years," stated Shelby Tisdale, director of MIAC. "His wide range of work, from silver jewelry and kachina carvings to his large-scale colorful paintings, draw on the Hopi traditions he grew up with ... I will always remember his warm smile, his subtle way of teasing, his contagious sense of humor, and his gentle way of teaching the world about Hopi art and culture."

Son of artist Fred Kabotie (1900-1986), who was self-taught and among the very first students at the Santa Fe Indian School during the 1920s, Michael Kabotie was multi-talented in sculpture, painting, printmaking, and metalwork, as well as a writer and poet. In 1979, his book of poems, Migration Tears: Poems About Transitions, was published by the University of California/American Indian Studies.

Kabotie was a founding member of Artists Hopid (1973-1978), an organization dedicated to innovative interpretations of traditional Hopi art forms. In 2003, he was cited as an Arizona Living Treasure by the Arizona Indian Living Treasures Awards, Inc.; and just this year, he was the featured artist for the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market in Phoenix.

"Michael was a quiet man, with a deep respect for the traditions of his Hopi culture," said Heard Museum director Frank Goodyear, Jr. in a statement. "He made powerful images drawn from Hopi artistic traditions that are testimonies to his own creative excellence. His death leaves us deeply saddened."

Kabotie was born on the Second Mesa on the Hopi Reservation and was raised in the village of Shungopavi. He graduated from Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kan.

In 1967, according to his Web site, he underwent his Hopi manhood initiation into the Wuwutsim Society and was given his Hopi name, Lomawywesa, or Walking in Harmony.

Kabotie's work is represented in many public and private collections, including the Heard Museum, Museum of Humankind (London), and the Gallery Calumet-Neuzzinger (Germany).

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