August 28, 2010

Yeibichai artwork in Fallbrook

FALLBROOK:  Navajo, nature inspire latest public art

Friday ceremony to unveil Peter Mitten's 'Yeibichai'

By Gary Warth
Four towering metal structures evoking a Southwestern canyon and Najavo spirituality will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. Friday as the latest installment of public art in Fallbrook.

"A lot of my work has related to land forms and how geography and topography forms are an understanding of the reality around us," said Fallbrook artist Peter Mitten about his piece "Yeibichai."
And:"Yeibichai" translates as the Navajo term for "night chant," but has many other meanings, he said. In another definition, the word means a spiritual being the Navajo believe helps them live in harmony with the universe.

The four cast-bronze pieces are about 8 feet tall. In Santa Fe, the pieces were spaced several feet apart, but Mitten said he has reconsidered their relationship with one another and how a viewer can interact with them.
Comment:  I can't quite tell what this artwork is supposed to look like. I guess it consists of four surfboard-shaped slabs to be clustered together like flower petals. I guess they look like stratified canyon rocks or giant yeibichai beings.

I don't know if anyone will get "canyon walls" or "yeibichai" by looking at them. I just think it's neat to see a Navajo-influenced sculpture anywhere, especially outside Navajoland. Anything that gets people to think about Indians in non-stereotypical ways is good.

For more on Navajo public art, see Navajo Mural in Van Gogh Style.

Below:  "Artist Peter Mitten, with help from Leven Jester, installs a piece titled "Yeibichai" in preparation for the unveiling ceremony on Friday night in Fallbrook." (John Koster/North County Times)

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