David Draper, a Navajo sculptor, contributes both stone and wood sculptures to the Native American Fine Arts Movement. Kachina House is honored to present his wood sculptures.
As a young child growing up on his grandparents’ ranch, David started drawing various animals. Horses were his favorite subject to draw because of their colors, personalities, strength, beauty and free spirit.
He enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was here the transition from paper to stone and wood began. David's specialty is wood sculptures. He has two preferences in wood for carving. For soft wood, he favors the cottonwood root. Cottonwood root is a spiritual and traditional wood and primarily selected for use in cultural imagery. For hardwood, cedar is his preferred wood because of its rich scent and color. Cedar is spiritual and traditional as well, the leaves are medicinal and important to the Navajo way of life.
David's wood sculptures are finely designed with intricate details. The figures are painted with a combination of bright and soft pastels to compliment both the type of wood and the subject matter. He combines the power of his native traditional culture with his attention to detail to create unique and beautiful works of art.
David's cultural beliefs prevail in his contribution to the Native American arts. He states, “My art has a purpose. I want to be effective in this time creating subjects that reflect past lives reiterated in the 21st Century. I am exploring past experiences and choosing storytelling as the means of depicting traditional ways of life of the Navajo.
David Draper (Diné) draws from a rich tapestry of influences, from Michelangelo to the late, legendary sculptor Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache). But his most powerful ideas come from his home in the Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.
Congratulations to David, he just took home a First Place for Non-Pueblo Wooden Carvings at the 54th Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market for 2012!
Navajo Sculptures | Navajo Wood Sculptures | Traditional Navajo Wood Sculptures | Painted Navajo Wood Sculptures