Michael Naranjo

1944 -

Michael Naranjo was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1944. He grew up in the Tewa Indian pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico. He developed an interest in clay and sculpting as a young boy. His mother was a potter and young Naranjo often helped her prepare her clay by blending various types of clay together with his feet. Later he made figures of animals and sculptures with the clay.

On January 8, 1968 while Naranjo served in the army in Vietnam a handgranade exploded near him causing him to loose his vision and partial use of his right hand. During recovery in the hospital and throughout the rest of his life, Naranjo worked with clay. He works with a dark clay creating sculptures of people and animals with many of his works reflecting his Native American heritage.

Naranjo not only creates works of art for sale, but he has his sculptures on display in US museums, the Vatican, and the White House. He also leads sculpture workshops for children and adults and has a sculpture gallery in which he encourages all people to touch the pieces on display.

In addition to world wide recognition, Naranjo was named the Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year in 1999 and during that same year he received the LIFE Presidential Unsung Hero Award.

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Read about two other famous Native Americans, Sacagawea and Sitting Bull.

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