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Gerald Dawavendewa

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

Gerald Dawavendewa

Gerald grew up in the Hopi village of Munqapi and in the Cherokee woods of Oklahoma. He is an enrolled member of the Hopi tribe. Through his artwork he hopes to share his cultures, educate the public about the rich heritage of native nations and promote a greater understanding of the native world. Gerald's interest in art led to a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art from the University of Arizona.

Dawavendewa has worked with the Arizona State Museum as an exhibit specialist where he assisted the development and construction of a 10,000 square foot exhibit entitled "Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest”. As part of the exhibit Gerald painted a mural entitled "Fourth World" that is a permanent part of the museum collection. The logo for the exhibit was later accepted as the official logo for this 124 year old institution.

Gerald has interned with the National Museum of American Indian, Smithsonian Institute. This internship led to a children's book project entitled "The Butterfly Dance" in which Gerald is Author and Illustrator. 

In 1994 in partnership with NASA and the University of Arizona, Gerald was honored to be asked to create artwork that depicts the Hopi cosmos that was sent aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-59).

For the University of Arizona's new Student Union complex, Gerald created a series of panels containing native imagery forming the main staircase. Other work includes a six foot tall sculpture depicting a parrot that illuminates from within. This project was part of Tucson Pima Arts Council "Lumminarias del Pueblo". 

My influences, that is reflected in my art, I have always looked toward my cultures and traditions as inspiration. I am always interested in exploring the directions that native art can take, but I am always aware of the root of native art and have maintained that respect for it in my own interpretations from these ancient and continuing imagery.

I first became aware of Americans with Japanese heritage being imprison when I was told of a group of Hopi men who were sent to a prison camp near Tucson Arizona for refusing to fight in World War Two due to their religious beliefs. These Hopi men spoke of Japanese Americans they meet at the prison camp who later I learned where imprisoned for refusing to be placed in concentration camps. My wife Sylvia, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribe grew up near the Poston Concentration Camp. I believe Japanese Americans and indigenous people share a common experience on how both have been treated by the United States Government that makes us unique among Americans. 

You can view more of Dawavendewa’s artwork at


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