Joe Cajero (Jemez Pueblo) is a sculptor working in clay and bronze. He creates clay originals, limited edition bronze sculptures and unique monumental commissions. Heritage Hotels & Resorts commissioned Cajero to create the centerpiece sculpture for Hotel Chaco’s lobby. Cajero’s experience as a Pueblo potter as well as his use of abstract imagery and an earth toned color palette make him the perfect fit for Hotel Chaco.
The bronze sculpture Cajero created for Hotel Chaco is entitled “Oneness.” It was inspired by the following quote from Wayne Dyer describing a conversation between Jesus and God: “May I know you as I knew you even before my beginning.” According to the artist, the sculpture represents love, energy, and oneness lifting up from the ground. It has four sides, representative of the four directions, with a female image on one side and a male image on the other side. The faces are composed of altars that represent multiple lifetimes. The colors on the inside represent the colors of the universe. The texture on the inside represents the dialogue that is inside of all of us. The texture also shows the evolution of multiple lifetimes and represents the consequence of the power sentient beings have to transform energy. The colors on the outside represent the rising and setting sun and the gold symbolizes enlightenment or awareness.
Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo) created the sculpture "The Guardian" that sits above the hotel lobby reception desk. "The Guardian" watches over the hotel like a guardian angel. She also created several of the cylinders in the lobby and one of the pots on the second-floor nicho. Swentzell comes from a family of renowned potters and sculptors. Roxanne Swentzell attended the Institute for American Indian Arts and the Portland Museum Art School and won Best of Sculpture in the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1999. Swentzell creates full-length clay figures that represent the complete spectrum of the human spirit. She feels that many people are out of touch with their environment and hopes relating to her expressive characters will help them get back in touch with their surroundings and feelings.
Marla Allison (Laguna Pueblo) is a full-time artist and member of the Pueblo of Laguna Pueblo. She has created two original paintings for Hotel Chaco's second-floor hallway. In 2008 she won the inaugural Innovation Award at the Santa Fe Indian Market for her painting, “Mother,” which is now alongside her painting “Father” in the permanent collection of the Heard Museum. Following the award, Marla was invited to be a Storyteller at the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence, RI. In 2010, Marla received the Native Woman’s Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, NM.
Hotel Chaco’s main front doors and lobby ceiling oculus are designed by Tammy Garcia, of Santa Clara Pueblo. The front doors are a modern interpretation of the black on black pottery renowned from Santa Clara Pueblo, the image on them is Avanyu, the Tewa water serpent that appears in petroglyphs all over the Southwest and at Chaco Canyon. The Oculus is representative of 3 eagles (swirl images) as the eagle is a sacred bird and she wants the viewer to look skyward. Using ancient methods and modern techniques, Tammy brings cultural history to life in her contemporary work.
The Vallos (Acoma Pueblo) re-created Cylindrical clay pottery vessels with intricate black and white designs that were also among the treasures found at Chaco Canyon. Working in the traditional pottery methods, the Vallos mine the clay from a sacred mountain, dry and prepare the clay, form the vessels using traditional methods and hand-paint them using natural pigments with a quill from a yucca plant. The Vallos frequently demonstrate at National Park sites and at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Ira Lujan (Taos/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblos) created a hand blown glass antler cloud in the lobby as well as three glass poured pieces on the hotel's third floor based on the spiral petroglyph found at Chaco Canyon. The antler is an ancient sacred symbol as is the cloud, in this he combines these two symbols to form a cloud of antlers.
Lujan says that glass is the new pottery medium as it is light suspended in time. Lujan was introduced to glass blowing in Taos, NM in the summer of 2000, and started an apprenticeship with the Native American Glass Artist Tony Jojola. Working with Jojola brought forth the possibilities of incorporating native themes and influences with ancient techniques of glass blowing. Lujan also attended the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Wash.
Rhett Lynch (Navajo) has two paintings titled "I AM" featured on either side of the fireplace in the "relaxation/chill room" in the hotels lobby. “I AM” is representative of petroglyphs found at Chaco canyon and all over the world, by placing a hand the meaning is to say “I was here, I exist, I am” the spiral is representative of the Sun Dagger spiral on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon.
In his 30 plus years as a professional artist, he has found expression in a variety of mediums: hand-woven tapestries, sculpture, drawings, monotypes, paintings in oil and acrylic, writing, and acting in films. His work conveys a universal message that transcends all cultural boundaries. Although varying greatly in medium and subject matter, all of Lynch's pieces share a common thread, intensity of color interwoven with multifaceted intent.
Mateo Romero (Cochiti Pueblo)completed paintings featured at the hotel's fourth floor. The paintings are all explanations of Chaco Canyon’s mysteries and how they relate to the elements (rain/earth), sustenance (food/corn) and spirituality (ceremonial architecture) are central to the Native American world view.
Romero attended Dartmouth College and studied with acclaimed artists Ben Frank Moss and Varujan Boghosian. He received an MFA in printmaking from the University of New Mexico. He is an award-winning artist who has exhibited internationally in Canada and in the United States. He is a former Dubin Fellow in painting at the School of American Research in Santa Fe, NM. In 2016 he received a prestigious Native Arts and Culture artists award.
Acclaimed fashion designer Patricia Michaels ( Taos Pueblo) designed some of the signature uniforms for the staff at Hotel Chaco. Her pieces for Chaco are inspired by the Chaco Canyon pottery shards and painting pottery. Most recently, she garnered national recognition for her Peabody Essex Museum show, "Native Fashion Now" 2015, and international attention after receiving the highly prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Arts and Design Award. She is the very first recipient of this award, a historic achievement. After her successful run on the Emmy Award-winning season 11 of “Project Runway,” where she won the first runner-up title, she was asked back to compete on “Project Runway All-Stars," Season 4. Her “Project Runway” debut was a historic first for a Native American designer and has brought her many new opportunities to showcase her sought out fashion and textiles.
Tony Abeyta (Navajo)
Tony Abeyta has a focal point painting in the Hotel Chaco lobby. Abeyta is a Navajo contemporary artist working in mixed media paintings. He is a graduate of New York University who also holds an honorary doctorate from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He was the 2012 recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Excellence in the Arts award, and is recognized as a Native treasure by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. His work can be seen at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, and is included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Boston Fine Arts Museum, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum, the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, as well as in many other public and private collections. Abeyta’s primary focus has been on painting the emotional experience one finds in the New Mexico landscape.
Learn more at tonyabeyta.com.
Preston Duwyenie (Hopi)
Preston Duwyenie created a white sands platter in the lobby. Duwyenie lives and works in Santa Clara Pueblo. Like his ancestors he gathers his clay just outside the pueblos, he offers prayers to the earth while digging the clay, and like them he is inspired by the beauty and awesome strength of nature. He uses potting techniques that have been utilized for more than a thousand years, but in terms of style, there is a point where Duwyenie steps outside this realm. Duwyenie has taught at IAIA and received Best of Show at the Heard Museum Indian Fair & Market and twice at the Colorado Indian Market. His Shifting Sands series integrates ceramic and metal, reflecting one moment in time for the artist. He remembers watching a smooth pebble caught in sand being shifted by the wind, “there was beauty in its isolation within the sea of sand. It was like an island.” Among other things the series symbolizes for the artist “the endless sands of time, and the fact that people, too, are tossed about by the wind. There is always a rippling pattern to our lives.”
Robert Tenorio (Santa Domingo)
Tenorio created one of the large pottery pieces featured on the 2nd story nicho. Robert uses traditional designs and shapes in his pottery through his own interpretations of traditions. His first award was in 1971 from the Heard Museum in Arizona. He now has ribbons enough, he laughingly noted, to “make two quilts!” One of his pieces entered in Indian Market was so intriguing that a new category was made just for it — Prehistoric Pottery — for which he also received an award.
Gregory Lomayesva (Hopi)
Lomayesva has several masks featured on the rotunda on the second floor of the hotel. He is an internationally recognized painter, sculptor and mixed-media artist and draws imagery and ideas from his heritage.
Lynnette Haozous (Chiricahua Apache/Taos Pueblo/Diné)
Haozous painted the hotel lobby ceiling to look like an old worn Navajo rug. Haozous is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Chiricahua Apache tribe in Arizona. Haozous was fortunate to grow up and experience living in her tribes nations, but calls Taos Pueblo, New Mexico home. Drawing inspiration from all three of her tribes, Haozous employs herself as an artistic instrument of the indigenous journey to convey her people’s truths, through such mediums as painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, film and stage.