The unique artistic background of Al Qöyawayma sometimes obscures his other life experiences. His creative skills may be found in places where people would least expect to find them. If you have flown internationally or were a pilot in the Gulf War you would have already entrusted yourself to his creativeness. He holds the patents worldwide on Inertial Guidance Systems gained after acquiring an advanced degree in todays technical world. As a Mission Specialist Applicant he even thought there might be a creative place in NASA’s Space Shuttle program…. “pots in space”…. as it might have been.
Al’s experience with native peoples include being a Fullbright Fellow to the Maori by helping them to reestablish an ancient ceramic tradition. He is a co-founder and First Chairman of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) which has grown to a constituency of one-half million. AISES with 180 student and professional chapters serves indigenous peoples of the Americas and of the Pacific. In 1986, because of his work to increase opportunities for native peoples, the University of Colorado at Boulder chose to confer an honorary doctoral degree.
As a Presidential appointee and Vice-Chairman of the Institute of American Indian Arts, he has seen the profound cross currents that occurs at the boundaries of todays multi-cultural society. And as a senior executive, Al has experienced first hand the many conflicts that large scale energy and water developments can bring to the Indian world.
Today, while maintaining many of these interests, Al has pursued his interests in the origins, migrations and cultures of native peoples, particularly his Hopi roots. Using his creative and artistic talents, Al has turned these interests into a twenty year body of fine ceramic work. His style is to produce ceramics with high sculptural relief, in native clays, using the repoussé technique. The results are “minimalist” pieces reflecting simple lines, the hue and shadow of high desert landscapes and the softness of the human touch. As taught by his teacher Polingaysi, the essence of the clay creation was its humbleness and timeless quality. As with the Creator, so it may be.
Ceramic and art studies: Polingaysi Qöyawayma, Arizona State University, Scottsdale Community College, and Scottsdale Artist’s School.
California Polytechnic State University, B.S. Engineering.
University of Southern California, M.S. Engineering.
Engineering Graduate Work: UCLA and Arizona State University