Al Qoyawayma

Al Qoyawayma was born on February 26, 1938 in Los Angeles, California. He was born into the Coyote Clan, a descendant of the famous potters of Sikyatki. He grew up in southern California but spent many of his summers on the Hopi Reservation, usually in the company of his aunt, Polingaysi Qoyawayma (also known as Elizabeth White). He learned from her what it means to be Hopi and exist with each foot in two very different worlds. As much as he learned the traditional way of pottery-making from her, his background in engineering is reflected in his pottery and the delicate forms he is able to achieve with it. Al's pottery is created in two distinct styles: one of figurative sculpted reliefs and another of carved and incised polychrome, influenced by patterns used hundreds of years ago in the village of Sikyatki.

Al has been producing pottery for more than 20 years and his pieces reflect his journey in life: he has spoken of discovering elements of his (and his aunt's) pottery styles in ceramics discovered in a village in Ecuador, made between 1200 and 1500 BC. As much as his pottery is simply exquisite to the eye, I find a whole other element comes into play when I get close and actually handle it...

Awards Al has Won:

  • Judges Award, Non Traditional Ceramics (Polychrome), the Heard Museum Fair, 2005
  • Non-Traditional Ceramics, 1st Place 2 Divisions (Polychrome), 2nd Place Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), Santa Fe Indian Market, August 2004
  • Best of Non-Traditional Ceramics: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place Non-Traditional Ceramics Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), Santa Fe Indian Market, August 2002
  • Best of Ceramics, The Heard Museum Fair, March 1998

Al's Art is Shown at:

  • The Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Taylor Museum, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • The Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
  • Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Colorado
  • University of Colorado, Old Main Heritage Center, Boulder, Colorado
  • Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New Mexico
  • National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
  • Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
  • The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center, Cal Polytech, San Luis Obispo, California
  • Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona
  • Selected for permanent representation as an American Artist in the Archives of Smithsonian Archive of American Art, 2010

Al's own website:

A Hopi pottery sculpture
An architectural piece
12 3/4 in H by 8 1/4 in Dia
Figure of Taaqa on a polished buff jar
Polished buff jar with figure of Taaqa (Hopi Man)
10 in H by 6 in Dia
Bear relief and knobs on a Sikyatki-style jar
Sikyatki-style jar with bear relief and knobs
8 3/4 in H by 12 in Dia
Pottery photos courtesy of Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery

Hopi Potters