The goal of this katsina doll carver is “to use my artistic creation to educate and preserve the Hopi culture.”
Alexander began carving when he was 10 years old, learning by watching his father, the well-known carver Celestino Youvella, and other men. When he was old enough to be initiated into the Hopi kastina religion, he began carving figures for his nieces and later his own daughters.
He considers himself both a traditional and a contemporary carver. Traditional in that his carving is about his centuries-old religion and way of life. The contemporary aspect of his work is in the personal inspiration and self-expression he adds to his pieces. For example, his figure might be posed in a unique way to help convey the message or feeling that Alexander wants to get across.
Alexander’s carving is marked by intricate details of costume and figure achieved through fine carving and painting exclusive of feathers of other added elements. He usually makes standing dolls to represent the dancing figures.
Having graduated from Hopi High School in 1991, he became established as a carving artist during the 1990s. He has won awards since at least 2003 from all the major Native American art shows. In the 2008 Santa Fe Indian Market, Alexander was awarded a fellowship by SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts). Alexander and his family live at Polacca, Arizona, also known as 1st Mesa, Arizona.
Alexander says about his work, “I do my best to represent my people and religion in a good way.”