Artwork by a Colorado State University alumnus is part of a sculpture exhibition at the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., featuring nationally renowned artists.
"Cloud Stone," an alabaster and copper sculpture by Preston Duwyenie, a Hopi artist and 1984 Colorado State graduate in fine arts, is on display as part of the Twentieth Century American Sculpture installation through next year. In addition, Duwyenie will join Peter Jacobs, professor of sculpture and Duwyenie’s mentor, at a Nov. 9 reception by invitation of the White House to celebrate the exhibition.
"Cloud Stone" is significant not only as a major work of contemporary Native American Indian art, but because it is one of the few sculptures that Preston has done," said Jacobs, who has been teaching at Colorado State since 1976 and who specializes in sculpture and Native American art and material culture.
Duwyenie’s sculpture was given to the Denver Art Museum by Jacobs and his wife, Nanci. The museum in turn loaned Duwyenie’s sculpture to the White House exhibit to be shown with other nationally known artists, including Harry Bertoia, Claes Oldenburg, Deborah Butterfield, Manuel Neri, Robert Mangold, Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Hunt, Isamu Noguchi, George Rickey and Isaac Witkin.
"Cloud Stone," the only contemporary Native American work in the exhibit, reinterprets a personal belief of Duwyenie’s and of the Hopi tribe that depicts the union of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
"The time I was at Colorado State coincided with a special event in my life, the birth of my daughter, Megan, in 1983," Duwyenie said. "The event crystallized the idea of my role as a father and made me think more about parallel events in nature and to the symbols of my culture." The sculpture’s 450-pound Colorado alabaster was mined near Fort Collins and is symbolic of the mountains and clouds that Duwyenie admired while he was living here.
The Denver Art Museum is host to another Duwyenie sculpture, a ceramic work called "Earth in Balance." His work, which has won five best-of-show honors at exhibits and Indian Markets throughout the nation, also is on display in the Museum of Man in San Diego, Calif., and other museums.
He was visiting artist in Canada in 1992, traveling to Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver to give workshops for the Arts in America program.
Duwyenie was born in Hotevilla on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona, and lived in Scottsdale and Phoenix for a time in his youth. He taught at the Institute of Native American Indian Art in Santa Fe from 1988-95 and currently is working full time in ceramics and jewelry in Espanola, N.M.