About the Artist

Carl Nelson Gorman, Kin-ya-onny-beyeh (Navajo)
Born on the Navajo Reservation, Carl Nelson Gorman (1907-1998) was a member of the Khinyá’ áni clan (the Towering House People). Gorman began his career with his service in the U.S. Marines during WWII as a member of the elite group of Navajo Code Talkers who translated military intelligence into Navajo codes that were never broken. After the war, Gorman studied art at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. To add to a long list of accomplishments, C.N. Gorman directed the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild and was involved in and led a Navajo history project which conducted oral interviews with Navajo elders. After his time at Otis Art Institute, he became a technical illustrator for Douglass Aircraft, established his own silk-screen company and became an instructor in Native American Art at the University of California, Davis. Gorman’s work is displayed in national and international galleries and is known as an innovator in a variety of styles and media.

In 1969, UC Davis faculty member Jack Forbes invited Gorman to help develop the Native American Studies program. As faculty, Gorman created the Native American art studio workshop. To further his teaching, he established the museum to perpetuate Native art and to educate students of work by Native artists. Since 1973, the museum furthered his vision to continue exhibiting contemporary Native art. Upon his retirement from UC Davis, faculty, students, and community members honored his contribution to Native American Studies and Native American contemporary art by establishing the museum in his name. Gorman also taught Navajo language courses at D-Q University and gave numerous lectures n Navajo culture to local community groups.

Photo courtesy: CN Gorman Museum

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