Specializing in Native American Crafts Since 1916

Cheyenne Jim

Clay Artist

Artist Profile

Cheyenne (Diane Lynn) Jim was born in 1957 into the Navajo Nation. Cheyenne was raised with a rich Navajo cultural tradition. At the age of six, she accompanied her grandmother, a medicine woman, to a Ye ’II bi Cheii ceremony (a nine night winter ceremony of the Navajo people where dozens of deities are presented each night wearing masks). This made a great impact on young Cheyenne.

Despite Cheyenne’s cultural influence her sculptures do not reflect Navajo or Indian traditions. For instance, her recent mask and clay sculptures possess partial cubism (Pablo Picasso), another strong influence from her college years at Bacone where she studies art. Cheyenne attended college at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Cubism absolutely fascinated her. For years it stayed in her mind but she was not confident enough to incorporate it into her work until recently. She is a self-taught artisan from observation. Her schooling did not alter her initial influence from her grandmother (Aasdzaan Doo’al hoshii), whose knowledge on Navajo healing ceremonies and herbology gave her prominent status among her people. She tried not to be analytical on pottery but that’s what it boiled down to. Eventually, Cheyenne took what she thought were the best techniques to construct her masterpieces but finding the right clay to work with was tough. Although she works predominantly with mica clay her subjects and themes are varied. Cheyenne’s unique style of art is far from traditional. She is not nor does she want to be limited by tradition. She was quoted as saying, “a true artist has no tradition to follow, only the freedom to create and be innovative”. All of Cheyenne’s art is handmade and hand painted from start to finish. She signs her art: Cheyenne Jim.

Recent Work by Cheyenne Jim

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