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Daniel Nez

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Daniel is of the Water's Edge Clan, born for Red Running Into Water, his maternal grandparents are the Tangle Clan, and his paternal grandparents are the Water Flow Together. He is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on the continuation of traditional Diné (Navajo) culture through visual depictions of oral narratives. Growing up in a small town in the Diné reservation, he noticed the dilution of traditional knowledge as he traveled further from his home in search of education. His want to preserve, share, and continue his culture has led him to express oral stories in a visual manner that captivate and engulf his audience. Creating a visual narrative, he hopes to continue the preservation of his culture while simultaneously educating others of Diné culture.

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Artist Statement

Combining cubism and perceptualism, my work introduces the oral narratives of Diné (Navajo) culture. My work aims to restore, revitalize, and share Diné culture. My pieces help Diné individuals rediscover who they are and give them an understanding of their place in this world while simultaneously giving non-natives a better understanding of who Diné people are and where we have come from.

Stories are told for many reasons. They are told for teaching, for healing, and can act as prayers. The words of a medicine man will always be carried with me, “Prayers can only do so much. Yes, they are powerful, but they can only take you halfway. The other half is up to you. You have to act upon the prayers, striving for your best and condoning yourself in a beautiful way, only then will the prayers be fulfilled.”  These stories are my prayers. They are being told. That is my half. It is up to the viewer to have reverence and respect, and to situate themselves accordingly.

Suspending segmented pieces in various planes creates a physical world to wander. The viewer must apply effort to see the whole picture. Everything is there, all that’s left is to see it and acknowledge it. The one vantage point mimics the teaching that one needs to be in the right mindset.

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