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Fernando Benally

Santa Fe, New Mexico

My Artwork is inspired through my life experiences with my family on the Navajo reservation. Navajo Ceremony with my grandparents and working on our ranch gave me a great perspective on life responsibilities.  A great feeling is after a sunrise to sunset work day making fence posts and running barbwire the family got together for dinner to laugh, tell stories and reminisce on the day.  After graduating high school my goal was to become the pet department manager at the newly constructed Super Wal-Mart in Gallup, NM.  I was looking forward to getting discounts on hamsters, goldfish and dog food.  While waiting for my application to get approved my uncle Ernest Benally asked me to help him get his jewelry ready to sell around Gallup and Zuni, NM to see who was buying that day.  This simple gesture begin my journey into the “American Indian Jewelry Art World.”  I accepted my families jewelry apprenticeship for 3 years and I begin by buffing jewelry, cutting cabs, stamping and soldering silver.  My talent had become more than apparent fo fellow jewelers and business owners alike.  My uncle chester Benally and my aunt Rita Benally-Ybarra have also assisted to further develop my skill in inlay and silversmithing.  My life is filled with bonus experiences above and beyond my life goals.  I have been creating jewelry for over 20 years and I am forever grateful the gifts my family has blessed me with.  I have 3 wonderful daughters who will be the next to carry on the stories of our life.  I look forward to seeing my daughter's art and life creations!