Eugene “Baatsoslani” Joe is a Navajo artist responsible for taking traditional Navajo sand painting to a new level. He was born in 1952 and was first exposed to art when he went to a boarding school at five. A drawing of a stallion opened his eyes to what he wanted to do, and he credits his early intuition for his eventual life as an artist.
He apprenticed with his father, James C. Joe, creating the more traditional sand painting styles. At age 20, he began to experiment, using sand more as an artist would use paint to capture landscapes, people, and images unrelated to ceremonial patterns.
Being part Pueblo, he sometimes portrayed Kachinas and pottery in his paintings. Petroglyphs, pictographs, and Native geometric patterns formed the backgrounds for much of his work. He refers to his paintings as “sand art.”
He signs his paintings Baatsoslani (He who has many feathers). Joe is an author and also lectures on Native art. He lives in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Image courtesy of John Noltner, A Peace of My Mind