Flying hogan floats artist to fellowship

By Krista Allen
Special to the Times


Courtesy photo
Joshua K. Tallas with his painting “Déégo”

Two people standing on the roof of a hooghan suspended from helium-filled balloons floating above Mittens and Merrick buttes are depicted in an award-winning image.

Joshua K. Tallas’s celebrated and enigmatic digital painting won the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ 2018 Design Fellowship. Tallas portrays a salubrious dawn — when everything is transfixed and only the light moves — over Tsébii’ndzisgaii in his painting “Déégo,” meaning “up” (normally spelled “deigo” in Diné Bizaad).

It was executed during a seven-day period of intense creativity on Adobe Photoshop, according to Tallas, 27, from Rough Rock, Arizona.

The painting is about keeping and carrying the colorful Diné tradition wherever a young Diné goes.

“It’s to bring our Native tradition from the hogan and literally taking that with you wherever you go,” explained Tallas, who is an assistant advertising coordinator at Twin Arrows Navajo Resort and Casino.

“Like if it’s going to school or (to a) new job — something that takes you off the (Navajo Nation) but also literally taking the hogan with you on these balloons and taking it with you, your culture and the stories you’ve been taught … as you go on your journey.”

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