Al Bahe creates riveting visions of his Navajo (Dine) heritage. Bahe is very soft spoken about his paintings and that is reflected in the quite power of his artwork. Bahe transports his viewers to beautiful, secluded landscapes. Here he introduces us to his subjects, most commonly a Navajo Yei figure. Central to Al Bahe’s efforts as a painter is a desire to impart knowledge of his own Navajo culture to the viewers.
Painting and drawing have been intensely important to Al since his early childhood days. Born on the Navajo reservation, Al grew up with eight siblings. He attended high school at Kayenta High. After graduating from high school he joined the Marine Corp for three years. He later traveled to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe on a scholarship provided by the tribal elders. He graduated in 1985 with a fine arts Associate degree. He continued with his formal training with classes at Northern Arizona University.
Today Al paints eight to ten hours a day in his studio in Shonto, AZ. working on his compelling canvases. In 2002 his work won Best of Division and Judges’ Choice Award at the Heard Museum Annual Native American Art Show. He is a content human being, alone with the land, his family and his art. His trademark Navajo Yei figures, often wrapped in blankets, continue to be his first artistic love and his most consistent theme. There is a story behind wrapping the Yei. Tribal elders consider showing the world exact images of the traditional dress and body paint somewhat sacrilegious, therefore, the use of the blanket covering sensitive details made the work more palatable to the elders.