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Alfred Clah


Through Navajo Eyes: The Intrepid Shadows (1966)


Alfred Clah was an artist from a community outside of Pine Springs. As Sol Worth and John Adair never did a formal life history interview with Clah, we don’t know as much about his early life as we know about the other students. Similarly, there are no images of or by Clah included in the Worth Papers. We do know that at the time of the project, he was a 19 year old student at the Institute of American Indian Art at Santa Fe. There, he studied painting and sculpting, and he had watched around a hundred documentary films.

In an interview with Worth about Intrepid Shadows, Clah explained his identity as an artist:

"Well, engineer, he just repeat things over and over, buildings and like that mechanics. But artist, he, his mind’s working. He wants to see this other things, he want to do these things. He doesn’t actually have to touch it, he just have to do it with spirit, uh, recapturing the image, on his pad. There he touch the world, like I touch, I mean, like, I make a portrait of you, there I touched the man’s face, throw it out. This is the face, I can’t say it, can’t describe this, you know, I can’t touch it. If I want to make a drawing of this, sure I touch it. By drawing I learn more the mass and the form, solid…Examines closely…I would never know this until I want to start taking apart and draw everything that…and I would, see this, and unscrew this, unscrew that, take that out, look in there. Things happen down there and I never saw it before. Then I could take the pencil and try to draw. Then I would understand more about the…reel (1)."