Grizzly Bears and Water Serpents: Nativo Lodge hotel rooms become
permanent displays of Native artistry
Nativo Lodge has hotel rooms personally designed by Native
artists. This room is titled "Sustenance" by Native
artist Warren Montoya. (photo courtesy Nativo Lodge)
Celebrating the culmination of a multi-year art
experiment, Heritage Hotels threw open the doors on June 28th to
24 Native artist designed guest rooms at Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque
for public viewing. In the past month, hotel visitors have had the
pleasure to stay in any one of the rooms decorated with hotel walls
beautified with Native designs.
Cloudface (Diné/Hopi), whose room is entitled "Arrival/Departure,"
decorated it with oversized hummingbirds. "Hummingbirds are so small,"
he explained to ICMN, "I just wanted to zoom in to have their brief
visits last a little longer."
"Arrival/Departure" room by Cloudface shares the cycle of
seasons and blessings brought by hummingbirds. (photo courtesy
Cloudface says his art addresses "the impermanence of life,"
as his composition was also an homage to the memory of his older
brother, also an artist, whose last paintings depicted hummingbirds.
"I owe everything to him," Cloudface said. "He was the only
person I've ever considered a real teacher. I followed his lead,
he gave me so muchtaught me how to draw, how to paint in more
traditional ways. It's not all about loss," he said. "It's about
offering all you can, while you can."
Lynnette Haozous, who is a grandniece of legendary sculptor
Houser and is Chiricahua Apache (of the San Carlos Apache Tribe),
Diné and Taos
Pueblo, said she wants the guests who choose to stay in her
"Sunrise Blessings" roomon which the east wall has an image
from her Apache tradition of White Painted Womanto find a
peaceful place of respite from everyday cares.
Haozous' "Sunrise Blessings" room. (photo courtesy Lynnette
Haozous, who is a grandniece of legendary sculptor Allan Houser
and is Chiricahua Apache (of the San Carlos Apache Tribe),
Diné and Taos Pueblo, said she wants the guests who
choose to stay in her "Sunrise Blessings" room. (photo courtesy
"She comes from the water, and her hair flows in the waterline,"
she explained. "It's a lifeline around the whole room. I hope they'll
experience this room as a whole different world," said Haozous to
ICMN, "and let it encompass them."
José Martinez, who often comes to New Mexico on business
and is a frequent guest at the hotel, said Haozous' imagery was
both enlivening and restful. "In my profession, I spend a lot of
time working from my left brain," he explained. "But seeing this
artist's quail, stars and orbs connects to my right brain, and it's
Ehren Kee Natay, Diné, from Santa Fe, painted three characters
in a cartoon-style drawing in Japanese animé style in the
main room of the suite he titled "Keeva"a water serpent, a
self-portrait in a mask and a buffalo dancer.
Kee Natay in the suite he titled "Keeva." (photo by Frances
Andrea Vargas-Mendoza, Diné, was happy to have stayed
onsite while working on the room she entitled "Mountain Flower."
Her piece is largely black, gray and white, accented in gold to
evoke the glimmer of sunrises and sunsets.
Vargas-Mendoza's design titled "Mountain Flower." (photo by
Vargas-Mendoza painted a self-portrait inspired by Navajo Changing
Woman, who represents female transition. She also brought her people's
topography into the composition, painting from her imagination a
literal location for ceremonya sacred mesa called Dzil Na'oodillii.
"Our intentions and desires are heard from those plateaus," said
the artist to ICMN. "She's free, she's in the wind."
Using house paint, acrylic, spray paint and stencil work, Joeseph
Arnoux, Blackfeet/Spokane, created two main contrasting figuresa
fisherman working to spear a salmon, and a grizzly bear posed with
his successful catch already in his mouth.
Arnoux (Blackfeet-Spokane) and his daughter basking in "Reflection
Infinite." (photo by Frances Madeson)
"Fishing is part of my identity and salmon is a source of sustenance,"
said Arnoux to ICMN, whose signature has two namesMan at the
Bottom of the Mountain and Grizzly Bear Walking.
Arnoux's "Reflection Infinite." (photo courtesy Nativo Lodge)
"The bear is a skilled hunter, but the human is working hard
to survive," he explained. "As the man pursues his catch, the bear
looks out directly. He has his fish and his food, the answers are
For more information visit: http://www.nativolodge.com/artist-rooms.