A graduate of New York University with an honorary doctorate from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, Tony Abeyta is a contemporary Navajo painter working in mixed media. He was the 2012 recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Excellence in the Arts Award, and is recognized as a Native treasure by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.
Abeyta currently works in both Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Berkeley, California. His work is included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Boston Fine Arts Museum, the Heard Museum, the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum, the Autry Museum of the American West, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and in many other public and private collections. At the Autry’s 2018 Masters of the American West, he received the Gene Autry Memorial Award, given in recognition of the most outstanding presentation of three or more works.
Abeyta’s primary focus has been on painting the emotional experience one finds in the New Mexico landscape. “There exists a rhythm in the land where I was born. I spend a lot of time deciphering the light, the cascades of mesas into canyon, the marriage between earth and sky and the light as it constantly changes at whim, the intensity of rock formations, and the sage and chamisa that accent this poetic experience, unlike anywhere else I have seen. I am beckoned to remember it and then to paint it.”