D.Y. Begay is a Navajo, born to the Totsoni’ (Big Water) Clan and born for the Tachinii’ (Red Running into Earth) Clan people. D.Y. is a fourth generation weaver; her unique weaving is handed down through the weavers in her family.
She grew up surrounded by female weavers where she was exposed to herding and shearing sheep, carding and spinning wool, harvesting plants for dyeing and learning to weave in the traditional Navajo fashion. DY’s tapestries are reflective of the family weaving tradition and use of the unique vegetation she has known since childhood. This spiritual connection to the plants yields the natural colors that are transformed into evocative land formations on her loom. Many of DY’s interpretative landscape tapestries reflect her Navajo identity and the place of her birth. These weavings encompass her perception of the natural beauty of the land and the descriptive colors of the desert where DY grew up in the high country of the Navajo reservation.
DY’s current work is an effort to combine her mastery of the traditional style of weaving with a concentration on incorporating diverse design concepts. This sentiment is reflected in her images and use of non-reservation color combinations, uncharacteristic of most Navajo weavers, and conveys her aspiration to discover new ideas and expressions. DY’s ultimate goal is to capture the natural beauty of Mother Earth and translate her personal vision into the warp and weft of her weavings.
D.Y. has exhibited her weavings in major museums and galleries including the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute, New York City; Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM; Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, OH; Mesa Art Center, Mesa, AZ; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. Her tapestries have been collected by major museums and published internationally and have been collected by both private and major museums in North America and in Europe.
D.Y’s many credits include co-curating exhibits in Athens, Ohio, (Kennedy Museum of Art); New York (National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute); and in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian).
Her early schooling was at the boarding schools on the Navajo reservation, St. Michaels High School and later at Arizona State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts and art education.