“Navajo Woman at Miami Beach”
Mold Retired – Bronze No Longer Available
21″ H x 21″ W x 18″ D
When I first began this piece, I had no clear idea which direction it would take. In my mind, there was an image of a woman sitting down, wearing a flowing skirt. As I began working, I soon came to the conclusion she would be a Navajo woman. They are known for their long skirts. Her face is very similar to my great grandmother, Petra Romero. We were very close and I wanted to create a sculpture in her likeness. Petra was a happy, lighthearted woman who loved to laugh and brought much joy to our family. Tiny wrinkles would form on her nose when she laughed.
As this sculpture took form, her personality emerged. I felt as though she were telling me her story and guiding me. This woman had never been off the reservation. One day, a tour bus came through the reservation. By chance, the elderly Navajo woman had a brief conversation with one of the tourist women. She thought it was a nice conversation and went about her daily business. The tourist however, was taken by the calm strength and serenity of the Navajo woman and never forgot her.
Some time later, the tourist is back at home in Miami, Florida and her health is rapidly deteriorating. As she is lying in her hospital bed, her family appears to be more concerned with who will inherit her beachfront property. As a lesson about greed and ingratitude, she decides to leave her property to the Navajo woman she met years ago. This sculpture depicts the woman on the beach, in front of her new home. She is dressed in her finest clothing, while people walk around her in bathing suits and swimming trunks. Coming from the arid Navajo reservation where water is scarce, it is her first time seeing the ocean. She has just finished making an offering and is sitting contentedly, quietly contemplating the circumstances that brought her to this foreign and beautiful place, as she playfully wiggles her toes in the stand.