Beatien Yazz (1928-2012) – (Little no shirt – Jimmy Toddy) Sand Painter 10 x 12″ sight, overall 16 x 18″, casein on paper, signed lower right, titled verso
|Yasuo Kuniyoshi - Dream (1922) Tokyo|
Read an interesting story about Yazz on the wonderful Al Anthony's Adobe Gallery site:
Beatien Yazz, Little No Shirt (Jimmy Toddy) was born in 1928 on the Navajo Reservation. Yazz showed promise as an artist very early. At an early age, Yazz met the Lippencotts, traders at the Wide Ruins Trading Post and they made available to him scraps of paper and other equipment so that he might practice in color.Interesting that this very painting looks like a sacred nightway painting but what do I know? The other one depicts a sacred fire dancer with gray clay on his body, hopping over the flames. I was able to see a sand painting being created as a young boy in Gallup around 1962. One of the most extraordinary things I have ever witnessed. Why, do you ask? Because the old painter, who crafted razor perfect lines with the colored sand, was completely blind. Don't ask, still can't figure it out.
Yazz was also the subject of Alberta Hannum's books Spin a Silver Dollar and Paint the Wind and his paintings were used as illustrations.
He served in the U.S. Marines in World War II and was a member of the famed Navajo Code Talkers. Following the war, he returned to the reservation and began to paint in earnest. He specialized in subjects familiar to him in his daily life on the reservation. He has been eminently popular with collectors since the 1950s.
During the last 20 years of his life, Beatien Yazz suffered from severe eye problems. The medical doctors had not been able to determine what the problem was. A Navajo Medicine Man said it was because he once painted the Navajo sacred Yeibichai. To be cured, Yazz must undergo a purifying ceremony performed by the Medicine Man. This is very expensive and Yazz was never able to afford it.