Like Water in a Vessel: The Ceramic Art of Kelvin Yazzie

June 1 - September 28, 2024

'Container #88' by Kelvin Yazzie 'Vessel #22' by Kelvin Yazzie

Ceramic artist and SUU alumnus, Kelvin Yazzie (Diné (Navajo), b. 1954), creates pots that swoop and swerve and swell in serpentine curves, voluminous chambers, and twisted knots. His works are deeply biographical, drawing on his childhood on the Navajo Reservation playing with mud and sheep entrails; reflecting his relationships with family, academic mentors and artistic collaborators; and exploring his mindful navigation of sobriety and American politics. Yazzie’s fluid containers that play with volume and emptiness not only evoke the dynamic movement of water, but also embody something of the artist’s character and values: water is formless, taking the shape of the vessel it fills, and thus exemplifies the power of adaptability, the potential for growth, and strength in change.


Image Credits (Left to Right): 

Kelvin Yazzie (Diné (Navajo), b. 1954), Container #88 (Window Rock)  (19XX), Pit-fired and glazed ceramic, Courtesy of the Artist. 

Kelvin Yazzie (Diné (Navajo), b. 1954), Vessel #22 (1988), Pit-fired ceramic, 13 x 9 x12 in., Southern Utah Museum of Art.