By Kelly Koepke
“Entertainment is important, but entertainment has become an obsession. It’s a distraction and escape from reality and the truths of this earth,” says Natay. “It’s brainwashing.”
At first glance, “Traditional Gaming” seems an homage to the video game Pac-Man. A closer inspection reveals ancient symbols Natay has learned through studying Pueblo pottery. Pac-Man itself, a yellow circle missing a quadrant, reminded Natay of the symbol for the bee plant, a frequent design element in Santo Domingo pottery.
“All the symbols I’ve used in the painting are sacred,” says Natay, who is of Navajo and Santo Domingo descent. “The clouds, the rainbow, the watermelon. The ghosts in the video game I’ve made into the holy spirits of the Navajo inside a kiva.”
For more on Native pop art, see Veregge's Superhero "Totems" and Jetsonorama's Larger-Than-Life Art.
Below: "A detail from Traditional Gaming by Ehren Natay."