Day 136: Duane Koyawena

As a self-taught artist, I have always felt passionate about art since childhood.  I was born in Ft. Wainwright, AK, to an Air Force father, Lloyd Koyawena (Hopi), and my mother, Carol Keevama (Tewa/Hopi).  As the youngest child of three, I have two older sisters, Holly Figueroa and Heather Koyawena.  Home lies between the village of Sipaulovi, Second Mesa, AZ (Hopi) and Ohkay Owingeh, San Juan, NM (Tewa).  However, I grew up in Albuquerque, NM, and graduated high school in 1999.  I briefly studied liberal arts at a community college before moving to Flagstaff, AZ in 2002.

I have definitely put the struggle in the saying “struggling artist”, by having had a serious addiction to alcohol for most of my youth.  I gained the appreciation for art, and the passion to explore within my own talent, through osmosis from my father who was also an artist. Sadly, my father lost his life to alcoholism.  The devastating loss of my father ironically influenced my own destructive path with alcohol.  During this dark period of my life, I lost contact with my art, as it had become impure.  In 2008, I took the first steps toward my road to sobriety, and reconnecting with my Hopi way of life.

Through embracing traditional teachings and culture, my life and art are pure again.  Drawing and painting allows me to remember my past and inspires me to keep moving forward positively for my sobriety, my family, and most importantly, my Hopi identity.  Through art, I am better able to create positive energy to help myself and others live a balanced and happy life.
Today, I compliment my artwork with the desire to help others.  I currently work in the Behavioral Health department at the Flagstaff Medical Center.  It is through this position that I am able to give back to society.  I strive to live a good life, one day at a time, with the support of my daughter Peyton, family and friends.  With that, I do my best to surround myself with beauty – one pencil or brush stroke at a time.

Instagram: Duane Koyawena Arts

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