5111-60 Lance Yazzi, Black Soapstone bear fetish sculpture
Sculptor Lance Yazzie has been sculpting since he was a young boy. At thirteen, Yazzie began carving traditional Native American fetish designs, and by sixteen, he had advanced to "table fetishes" sculptures, which can be up to twenty inches long.
Today, his fetishes are sleek and his surfaces remarkably refined; they are carved from stones ranging from orange translucent alabaster to marble to limestone. Protection, wisdom and strength are reoccurring themes that are associated with "the bear" a frequent subject in Yazzie's carving. "All tribes have their won interpretation of the animal's significance. I humbly offer my sculpture in the hopes of having created a modern design from an ancient idea. This is what I strive for."
Yazzie has won first place in sculpture at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Best of Division at the Heard Museum in Phoenix and many other awards. Shifts in his work have allowed him to encompass not only the traditional forms of his Navajo culture but contemporary pieces with a Modern Art feel. When creating his more contemporary sculptures, he doesn't stay within the guidelines of Native American art; he brings additional textures, images and symbolism to these pieces. "The symbolism is not only meaningful to Native people but to all of us. I try to leave it open so people can find their own meaning."