For more than a decade, Arlo Namingha managed Niman Fine Art, his family’s Santa Fe gallery, which features the paintings and sculpture of his internationally acclaimed father, Dan Namingha. Evenings and weekends were spent in quiet pursuit of his authentic artistic vision, inspired by his Tewa-Hopi heritage and the San Juan Pueblo where he was raised.
Not surprisingly, Namingha's earliest childhood memories are associated with art, as his family's lineage may be as close to artistic royalty as one can find. He is a descendant of the Hopi potter Nampeyo (1860-1942), the first nationally acclaimed Indian artist. His paternal grandmother, Dextra Nampeyo Quotskuyva, is one of the most famous potters working on the Hopi reservation today. His father's pieces continue to elicit praise and reap recognition. With all that artistic ancestry behind him, he says, "I have to explore ideas, trust my instincts and run with it, taking my ideas and my work as far as I can."
Namingha began his artistic journey carving wood sculptures depicting pueblo ceremonies. After eight years as a full-time studio artist, he has discovered his unique voice and added stone and bronze to his materials list. Loyal collectors, enthralled with Namingha's combination of minimalist design and such traditional imagery as birds, clouds, rain and Katsina spirits, are testament to his talent.
"I grew up in a unique and fortunate situation. There is a foundation to my work that draws from my culture and traditions, but I explore those images by breaking them down and minimizing elements," the artist states. "I find my work is constantly changing and evolving as I build my confidence."