Richard Yazzie

“Bear Shield”

Richard Yazzie is a Navajo painter living and working in Gallup. Not only can you see his artwork at ART123 Gallery, you can see it all around downtown. Mr. Yazzie painted may of the receptacles lining the streets of downtown as part of the 2016 Trashcan Painting Project. All of Mr. Yazzie’s work focuses on overarching themes of Native cultures, history, Gallup life and military service (Mr. Yazzie is a veteran of the United States Army). Read more about his influences and inspiration in his artist statement:

(From left to right)
“Navajo Warrior – Ft. Sumner 1864 – 1968” and “Sioux Dancer”

Having grown up on the reservation not far from the Gallup area, I am familiar with the different historical events and various ethnic populations that have contributed to the social and cultural make-up of the city, including the surrounding Navajo and Pueblo nations, the Mexican influence, and the early European settlers who made their own contributions during the mining and railroading years. There is also a strong respect for our veterans in the city.

I try to incorporate these various themes into my artwork. Such events as the annual Intertribal Ceremonial, the local rodeos and Native celebrations, the importance of the trading posts, Native art forms, respect for our veterans, and the all of the ethnic groups that make up the population are things I try to represent in my artwork.

I feel it is important to illustrate the history, the many groups that have come together to live in Gallup and the importance of both the urban and regional cultures that make up this area and influence the lifestyle of the city.

Mr. Yazzie (front) reviews plans for one of his painted downtown receptacle with fellow artist Harold Yazzie.