Navajo word for sandpaintings means "place where the
gods come and go."
The sandpainting has been used for centuries in religious
rituals, including healing ceremonies
performed by Navajo medicine
men. A s andpainting for a ceremony is made on the
ground in the ceremonial
hogan and destroyed at the end of the ritual.
In order to preserve
this long-standing tradition, in the late 1940's Navajos began to
permanent sandpaintings, changing the design slightly to protect
the religious significance
when these paintings were shown publicly.
Pictorial sandpaintings which reflect the
Navajo environment and
lifestyle are also made. Today sandpaintings are made by slowly
sand through the hand onto epoxy-covered particle boards, using sand
naturally colored crushed rock, stone, and minerals for
the different shades and colors.
The sandpainting is intended to
be hung within a frame or by attaching picture
hangers to the back
of the board.
Penfield Gallery of Indian Arts represents sandpainters from the Navajo
mainly from the
Shiprock, New Mexico area. Please click on an artist's name to view their work.