“The songs the women sang as they wove have stayed with me. The soothing sound of the loom and voices of the elders talking about the stars in the beautiful Southwest sky.” — Jesse Monongya
An award winning Navajo-Hopi Indian jeweler, Jesse Monongya is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, a center for American Indian Art. He designs and creates extraordinary custom pieces with a contemporary Native American Indian design.
Raised in New Mexico, in the famous Navajo rug center of Two Gray Hills, Monongya learned early the need for achieving excellence in one’s craft from watching the weavers and their pursuit of balance and technical perfection. He attributes the major influences upon his work to various sources, in varying degrees. His father, Preston, who he did not know until he was an adult; his blended cultural background; his Hopi grandfather, a much respected Hopi Elder; his Navajo grandfather who taught him the respect of his environment and the old Navajo ways of discipline and the Beauty Way.
The Bear, a symbol of Strength and Power in Jesse’s Diné culture, is often featured in his designs. The intricately inlaid pieces require such an intense level of concentration, that Jesse finds the need to pause, recover and resume. His work has ranged from the use of silver and simply cut turquoise and coral to the highly technical and intricate designs of the galaxies and heavens in lapis, jade, malachite, and diamonds set in 18k gold. While his designs have evolved over the years, the brilliant color combination and balance of design are consistently present.
Featured in both group and private exhibitions, and represented in both corporate and private collections, Monongya has won several awards and honors at major American Indian art shows throughout the Southwest. He strongly believes in promoting and supporting individual Indian artists, as well as expanding public awareness and opportunities to appreciate Indian artwork.