Relative from the Blue World, 2017


The Great Heron at the center of this work first greeted Navajo people as they entered the Second World, one of the Five Worlds in the Navajo cosmos. The striking indigo background honors everything encompassed by the Second World, also known as the Blue World. The hourglass patterns reference Tóbájíshchíní (Born for Water), one of the Hero Twins whose deeds in epic battles saved the Navajo people. Feathery wisps of lines and repeating designs suggest the movement and flow of water. The large circle behind the heron’s head is filled with plant motifs, reflecting the centrality of water and vegetation to all humankind. Marwin Begaye was inspired by Russian icon paintings, as evidenced by the halo-like motif. He noted, “I consider these waterbird series just as important as the saints depicted in Russian paintings.”

Relative from the Blue World
Artist Life
American (Navajo)
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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