Michael Chiago, Tohono O’odham/Maricopa/Pima
Michael Chiago is one of very few Southern Arizona Indian painters to achieve national recognition. His background includes a stint as an Indian fancy dancer that included performing at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, barber school, and study in commercial art at Maricopa Community College. A popular poster artist for Indian Art shows including O’odham Tash in Casa Grande, Arizona, and the Heard Museum, Phoenix, he was also commissioned to illustrate a children’s book Singing Down the Rain (Moreillon 1997), about Tohono O’odham desert culture. Chiago’s watercolor and acrylic paintings illustrate O’odham daily life and ceremonies that, in contrast to those of the Pueblo and Navajo, are relatively unknown outside of the immediate region of Southern Arizona.