Artist Profile - Mavasta Honyouti

Since 1988 ATADA has served the community of tribal art dealers. Our primary emphasis has been on antique Native American art, but many of our members also feature contemporary tribal material. We know that it is important to support today’s artists so that these traditions of beauty and meaning survive. We recently featured an innovative Hopi artist in the Summer 2016 Edition of the ATADA newsletter. Below is an excerpt of the profile: 

Mavasta Honyouti: Innovating Hopi Art Forms

by Barry Walsh

Mavasta Honyouti is a 36 year old man who grew up in Hotvela. He teaches 6th grade at First Mesa Elementary School. He often works at his art in the evenings and weekends during the school year and full time during his summers off. He teaches his classes about Native American peoples and world indigenous cultures using content not found in textbooks. He stresses that all students are capable of success and he clearly is a model in two different realms. 

Fig. 1. (Click to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the artist.

Mavasta’s reverence for culture also comes through in his art work. He makes two types of carvings: 1) cylindrical, multi-figured pieces which generally portray diverse aspects of a Katsina dance scene, and 2) bas relief plaques that often portray muliptle katinsam engaged in an activity or even depict pop culture figures. A superb example of a cylindrical carving is shown in Figure 1. This carving portrays many facets of a Corn Dance including the dance itself, individual katsinam, baskets, katsina carvings, etc. This work won “Best of Classification” at SWAIA in 2015.  

Another fine example of one his bas relief plaques is shown in Figure 4 depicting a Left-Handed, hunter katsina with the Star Wars character Boba Fett. Note that the latter has rabbit stick designs on his “gauntlets.” As shown in Figure 5, Mavasta presents us with an updated version of the Beatle’s Abbey Road album cover with two Huhuwas, a Koyemsi, and a Mocker katsina. Mavasta says he enjoys, “fusing the two cultures.” 


Fig. 4. (Click to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the artist

Fig. 5. (Click to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the artist


The Hopi Katsina religion is vibrantly alive and is reflected in its evolving artistic expressions. Mavasta Honyouti has introduced into this tradition new motifs, media, and aesthetics. He is part of a 1000 year long, distinguished chain of art and culture, centrally important to insiders and appreciated by many beyond.