I am Shiwi (Zuni) born into the Badger Clan and Child of the Corn Clan. I am an aspiring photographer, graphic illustrator, silversmith, and mentor.
My life as a silversmith is challenging because I am experimenting with traditional techniques of brazing, forging, and lapidary to create two-dimensional wearable adornments. My inspirations are Rene Lalique, Edward Beyuke, and Lambert Homer. I love the use of turquoise, shells, fossilized ivory, ironwood and other natural stones to create color schemes from the 1900’s. I am very proud of my cultural heritage and of the fact that my tribe’s esteemed art form of jewelry has been featured in fashion world publications such a Vogue, W Magazine, and Architectural Digest. I have always believed that one day our native art would receive such fame, without compromising our standards.
Graphic illustration and photography have influenced my jewelry design in proportionally balancing metal with stone. I would like my art to be considered to be ‘painterly.’ In another life I painted photo realism such a concert posters from the 1960’s. Painting nurtures my spirit and enables me to express visual communication.
Carving human form has always been considered ‘taboo’ in my culture. I have been carving human faces for the last year and am very proud of my progress because it is all self-taught. My spirituality and faith in God nurture my creativity, and my Zuni cultural beliefs enable me to balance both worlds.
For myself as an artist, mentoring is a strong role for giving to the generations who will continue our legacies --- to survive any tragedy or hardship bestowed on us. My current line of work, Zuni figurines, is a tribute to the victims and survivors of suicide and domestic abuse on our Indian reservations. I encourage the use of creativity and spirituality to focus on issues in one’s life as a survival skill or an outlet to communicate one’s pain through prayer and meditation.
My role as an American Indian is to be involved with the arts, politics, and education to ensure that our Zuni culture survives the next generations.
Gomeo Zacharias Bobelu
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