Zeke Argeanas

Zeke Argeanas ~ (b. January 2001) Zeke is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who continues the tradition of Diné (Navajo) bead craft. His heritage is from Chinle, Arizona. Around various parts of the Navajo Nation, he is known as Hastiin Yoołgaii Ts'ósí (Slim White Shell Man), Hastiin Biyoo' Łání Hólǫ́nii (Man With The Many Beads) or Hastiin Yoo' Sání (Old Bead Man). He is known to be one of the few Diné who still carry on the old tradition of using pump drills and hand tools. Zeke began his journey in bead making when he was twelve. He uses mostly natural materials in his work, although occasionally incorporates stabilized materials as well. Zeke’s influence comes from traditional ceremonies, old pictures, museum items, and hearing oral stories that mention the “beautiful soft and hard goods such as clothing, animals, and precious stones and shells".

Zeke is an emerging artist, who is currently a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, majoring in studio arts with a minor in museum studies. Zeke participated in the 2021 Festival of the Americas in Ivins, UT. He also participated in the 2021 Eiteljorg Indian Market (virtual).

(Artist Statement):

" I create beads using old traditional techniques in honor of my Diné ancestors work. I first began using power tools, then over the years I progressively started using hand tools. I use the jewels we speak of in our songs, prayers, and stories. There are four sacred jewels, the white shell, turquoise rock, abalone shell, and the black jet or obsidian, which make up the four sacred mountains of our traditional Diné homeland. The jewels also make up the elements, cardinal directions, the four stages of life, the animals, the people, and so forth. I will also use other traditional materials in my works. I am one of the few Diné who still hand make beads and carve ceremonial items. I am happy to carry on this tradition from my medicine teachers and elders, and pass it down to the Diné through my apprentices."