Based upon the Navajo Creation Tales, the extraordinary and unique sculptures of Marvin Jim reflect a time long ago, when animals and humans walked and worked together to create this new world.Traditional Navajo stories speak of conversations among all beings, of behaving in a manner of mutual respect, and of all beings having an equal position in the community. These legends are an essential part of the Navajo culture.
The tales are of universal interaction, compassion and tolerance — all the things necessary to live a balanced existence.
The animals played prominate roles in these myths. For example, Coyote is often portrayed delivering fire to humans, a selfish act initially, but one that proved selfless in the end. There was Turkey who kept his wits about him during the great flood. When everyone else grabbed personal possessions, Turkey gathered life-giving seeds. These seeds made it possible for the people to survive.
The four great rams who dispersed the flood waters into a mirage world, making the earth livable are mentioned. Duck, who dove back into the troubled waters to fetch the forgotten medicine bag of First Man is also an important part of the stories. This act cost him his beautiful plumage, but gave rise to the sacred mountains which guard and protect the people.
Marvin has chosen to recreate these lessons through sculpture. Raised in the traditional Navajo way, this talented young artist, carves his “upright animals” to show that there was once, and will be again, a personal connection to the animal world.
There is a special grace and love in his work that make you feel happy. Isn’t that a miraculous thing?