Published on June 20, 2013 by Amy
In an early morning dream, Lawrence Jacquez (pronounced Hackus) had a vision of “a little boy sitting on Dzil Na’oodilii (Mountain around which moving was done), referred to by the Navajo as ‘twirling mountain’ and a mist-like sunburst-horned Yeibichai floating up into the sky”. In an interview, Jacquez said when he tried to paint his dream, a carving came out instead.
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Lawrence Jacquez was born in 1965. His early years were spent in a hogan under the shadow of Dzil Na’oodilii. After finishing about eight grades in boarding school, Jacquez worked part-time for Foutz and Burson Construction Company. In 1988, a jackhammer accident ended his short career. Jacquez now lifes with his wife, Luann Murphy Jacquez, in a small village of houses just south of the Nageezi Trading Post. “I had been painting off and on all my life,” he remembers, “but after my dream I started to carve.”
The work of Lawrence Jacquez is unique among Navajo artists. He has created a style of art that relates to both sandpainting and sculpture. One figure that appears frequently is the Sunburst Yei Chiricahua Apache, which is found in Navajo legend. Jacquez says that he’s unable to duplicate the figures and colors exactly because in the Navajo religion that would be wrong. Like many other Navajo, Jacquez believes a complete and accurate rendering of sacred beings would imbue the object with supernatural power, inappropriate for secular use. Thus many artists change the details of sandpaintings to prevent the Holy people from being called. Therefore, Jacquez alters the designs he relies on in creating his sculptures. Lawrence Jacquez also continues to paint. for instance, he recently completed several large murals, one on the outside wall of the Nageezi Trading Post and another on the side of a nearby farm facing the highway. These murals of Navajo scenes, while interesting, lack the personal vision and innovation that is present in the carvings and the painted works are not created with the same enthusiasm as his carvings. In the spring of 1989, Jacquez brought his few pieces to Don Batchelor at the Nageezi Trading Post. Shortly thereafter, Bruce Burns, owner of the Thomas Harley Trading Post in Aztec, began to represent this innovative artist and has placed his work in important collections.