Cheyenne (Diane Lynn) Jim is a full blooded Native
American Indian born in 1957 into the Navajo Nation.
Cheyenne was raised with a rich Navajo cultural tradition. At the age
of six, she accompanied her grandmother, who is a “medicine woman”,
to a Ye’II bi Cheii ceremony (a nine night winter ceremony of
the Navajo People, where dozens of deities are presented each night
wearing masks). This made a great impact on the young Cheyenne.
Despite Cheyenne’s cultural influence, her sculptures do not reflect
Navajo or Indian traditions. For instance, her recent masks and clay
sculptures possess partial cubism (Pablo Picasso), another strong influence
from her college years at Bacone, where she studied art. Cheyenne attended
College at Bacone College in Muskogee, OK.
Cubism absolutely fascinated her. For years it stayed in her mind, but
she wasn’t confident enough to incorporate it into her work until
recently. She is a self-taught artisan from observation. Her schooling
did not alter her initial influence from her grandmother (Aasdzaan Doo’al
hoshii), whose knowledge on Navajo healing ceremonies and herbology
gave her prominent status among her people. She tried not to be analytical
on pottery, but that’s what it boiled down to. Eventually, Cheyenne
took what she thought were the best techniques to construct her masterpieces,
but finding the right clay to work with was tough, that’s where
she ran into a lot of difficulty. Although, she works predominately
with mica clay, her subjects and themes are varied. Cheyenne’s
unique style of art is far from traditional. She is not, nor does she
want to be limited by tradition. She was quoted as saying: “A
true artist has no tradition to follow, only the freedom to create and
be innovative.” All of Cheyenne’s art is handmade and hand
painted from start to finish. She signs her art as: Cheyenne Jim.
-Storytellers & Other Figurative Pottery
-1999 New Mexico State Fair 1st Place
-Too many to list