Charles Loloma

Charles Loloma, Hopi (1921-1991)

Born near the village of Hotevilla on Third Mesa of the Hopi Reservation, a member of the Badger Clan, he remained dedicated to his heritage until his death. He had his early schooling at the Hotevilla Day School. Later he lived with an aunt in Moencopi while attending the Hopi High School in Oraibi. There he worked under the well-known artist, Fred Kabotie. He went onto Phoenix Indian School and graduated from it in 1940. From 1941 to 1945 he served in the army, spending over three years in the Aleutians. He married Otellie Pasivaya in 1942 and following his discharge, they settled in Shipaulovi on the Second Mesa.

It was in 1955 that Loloma began turning his creative efforts toward jewelry. Acknowledged as a pioneer among American Indian artists, Charles Loloma was a man of irrepressible creative energy.

His answer to the seeming disparity between the Hopi way of life and the sophisticated world in which he moved was this: "We are a very serious people and have tried hard to elevate ourselves, but in order to create valid art, you have to be true to yourself and your heritage". He also said: "I felt a strong kinship to stones, not just the precious and semi-precious stones I use in my jewelry, but the humble stones I pick up at random while on a hike through the hills or a walk along the beach. I feel the stone and think, not to conquer it, but to help it express itself".