Raymond C. Yazzie, award-winning Navajo jewelry artist, has many friends and customers in Japan. As the disaster unfolded before his eyes on television and the Internet, Yazzie felt a deep need to reach out. He and fellow artists Darryl Dean Begay and Lyndon Tsosie got together and Native American Artists for Japan (NAAJ) was born. All monies raised will be donated to the Red Cross effort in Japan.
Within 24 hours of announcing their idea on Facebook, commitments of amazing pieces of art flowed in from across New Mexico, Arizona, and beyond. Over 100 artists including Tony Abeyta, Michael Roanhorse, and Darryl Dean Begay have pledged some of their best pieces for the EBay auction, and additional pledges continue to pour in from such artists as Verma Nequatewa (Sonwai), Perry Shorty, McKee Platero and Lyndon Tsosie.
“Our mission is to inspire fellow Native artists to give back to our brothers and sisters abroad,” says Yazzie. Lyndon Tsosie, adds, ”Native American Artists for Japan has turned into a gigantic bubble of love and help, reaching out to those affected by this disaster.”
A website has been established at http://www.nativeamericanartistsforjapan.com, where links to ongoing eBay auctions will be posted. You can also view information about fund-raising progress, a list of contributors, and videos from artists who have joined the effort. The first in the auction series will include as many 15 pieces of art. This auction will last for 7 days, then NAAJ will post more art the following week.
The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) has joined forces with the founders to handle monetary donations. Checks can be made out to: SWAIA c/o Native American Artists for Japan and sent to: SWAIA, c/o of Native American Artists for Japan, POB 969, Santa Fe, NM 87504-0969.
This is a fantastic way to add to your Native American art collection and benefit people in deep need at the same time. I hope you’ll participate!