Bob Haozous was born in 1943in Los Angeles, California and is Chiricahua Apache. Haozous is primarily known for his sculptures, often site-specific pieces, but his work also includes intimate jewelry pieces, watercolor drawings, prints and smaller works in three dimensions. His approach does not seek to imitate Western discourse or philosophy (especially that which is linked to material progress and linearity), but rather engages Native American cultural worldviews. Significantly. his art challenges internalized racism, the expectation of genetic purity and the idea of an “authentic Indian.” He does not accept post-modernism or Native modernism as Native American art definitions, arguing that these dialogues are based in Western concepts. Haozous advocates defining a contemporary interpretation of Native American art from a Native point of view.
Haozous’s monumental site-specific works are non-obstructive — fitting with his concern for environmental issues. His consideration for the environment forces an acknowledgment that we are not excluded from the natural world, but rather are part of it. The materials he uses vary from metal and wood to marble.
The 2006 group exhibition Relations: Indigenous Dialogue at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum (co-curated by Haozous), sought to re-establish Native thought over Western philosophy. The central piece of the exhibition was Haozous’s Apache Holocaust Memorial (1993), a monumental-sized testament to the genocidal history of the Apache under the United States government. The work features fourteen jail-type “rooms” enclosing life-sized wooden skulls of seven elders and seven children. This inclusion references the Indigenous philosophy in which one considers the impact of one’s choices seven generations beyond one’s own life. At the top is a figure of a seated and shackled Apache man with the number seven displayed on his chest. The base is painted with the names of the extinct tribes of Native North America. The work is at once a mourning, a recognition and a call for action. Haozous believes that art can have a role in healing by addressing and facing hard issues.
Haozous is the son of distinguished artist Allan Houser. He received his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1971 and has exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Westphalian State Museum, Germany and the Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY. His work is in notable collections such as the Joslyn Art Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art and the British Museum. the City of Tampa, Seminole Tribe of Florida, City of Seattle (Seahawk Stadium) and City of Phoenix (Sky Harbor Airport) among other public entities have commissioned his monumental public sculptures.
Additional Resources compiled by students in Contemporary Native American Art History course at IAIA, Spring 2013
Web based resources:
Haozous, Bob. Bob Haozous. http://www.bobhaozous.com
This is the artist’s personal website.
ASU. “Redefining Indigenous Perspectives Through Art and Dialogue with Bob Hoazous.” ASU Library Channel. April 9, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjjIuF1C0hA
Bob Haozous discusses his life and art.
Abbott, Larry. “A Time of Visions.” I Stand in The Center of The Good. Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1994. http://www.britesites.com/native_artist_interviews/bhaozous.htm
This Larry Abbott Interview provides great insight into the work and life of the artist.
Hall, Dawn, ed. Unlimited Boundaries: Dichotomy of Place in Contemporary Native American Art. Albuquerque: Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, 2007.