July 28, 2013

Pac-Man meets pueblo

Tradition meets cartoons

By Kathaleen RobertsNatay’s stairsteps-meet-street-art approach fuses Mimbres abstraction and graffiti techniques, tablitas and Japanese anime. It’s a hybrid of traditional motifs infused with the vibrant colors and minimalist forms of cartoons and comic books. Think Pac-Man meets pueblo.

His “Kiva Head” design combines an Angry Birds scowl with the traditional tablita headdress used in ceremonial dances.

“It’s actually the symbol for clouds in pueblo culture,” Natay explained. “It’s also the steps of the kiva.”

“You see so much Native American cartoon imagery that’s so stereotypical,” he continued. “I wanted to get away from that. I wanted to create cartoon characters.”
Comment:  For more on Native pop art, see Veregge's Superhero Totems and Birch Bark and Skateboards in Mni Sota.

Below:  "Ehren Kee Natay (Kewa Pueblo/Diné) poses with a T-shirt he designed for the upcoming Santa Fe Indian Market." (Jim Thompson/Journal)

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