Hosteen Etsitty

Hosteen Etsitty

Hosteen grew up in Shiprock, New Mexico on the Navajo reservation and first learned the art of Navajo Sandpainting at the age of 17 from elders within the spiritual community.  Since then, Hosteen has been perfecting the art of Navajo Sandpainting for more than 25 years.  Navajo Sandpaintings are an integral part of the Navajo culture and Navajo healing ceremonies conducted by Navajo Medicine Men or Women, who create temporary traditional sandpaintings on the Hogan dirt floor, using various natural colors of sand to create paintings depicting Navajo deities, animals, plants, planetary beings, astronomical beings and other earthly and universal beings depicted in Navajo Creation stories.  Navajo sanpaintings are used to absorb the negative or evil spirits that may reside within a person who is ill or who is in  need of their spirit being brought back into balance and harmony within themselves and their surroundings, in mind, body and spirit, to once again become one with the universe and the Creator.  At the completion of the ceremony, the temporary sandpainting is erased and the sand used is gathered together and buried toward the north, where Navajos believe the negative spirits dwell.

In order for Hosteen to create permanent forms of these sacred traditional temporary sandpaintings, he had to undergo Navajo ceremonies and place offerings and prayers to the Holy People, asking for their blessings in creating similar art forms of these sacred Navajo sandpaintings, as a means to provide for his family.  Hosteen uses naturally colored sands and gathers the different colors of sand from various parts of the Navajo reservation and some from off the reservation.  Most of the sands come from sandstones and others from various other tyes of rock, which are crushed into sand.  The sands are carefully sifted until a pure consistent grain is established.  Hosten then uses a water-based glue and fine sable watercolor brush to paint finely detailed figues onto the sandpainting, then sprinkles the fine sand onto the painted area and takes off the excess sand, presses in the sand and waits for it to dry before moving onto the next section and color.  This time-consuming process is repeated over and over until the painting is completed.

Hosteen has perfected the art of Navajo sandpainting for over 25 years and takes great pride in his work, which is evidenced by his winning of numerous awards over the years from various Native American art shows, exhibits, museums and art organizations.

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This site was last updated on October 26, 2020.

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