Victor Masayesva Jr


Victor Masayesva Jr. (Hopi) is an artist, filmmaker, and curator. He was born in 1951 on the Hopi Reservation and raised in the village of Hotevilla-Bacavi (Third Mesa), Arizona. His rich body of video and photographic work represents the culture, traditions, language, and voice of the Hopi people of Southwest Arizona, employing poetic visualizations—including computer animation and graphics—to produce lyrical translations of Indigenous myth, ritual, and history. He received a BA in English Literature from Princeton University (1976), and an MA in English and Photography from the University of Arizona (1978). After completing his studies he became Director of ​​Hotevilla’s Ethnic Heritage Program. His work has been exhibited at festivals, museums, and galleries internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Walker Art Center, San Francisco Art Institute, and Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, among others. He is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards, including an Intercultural Media Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (1987), along with grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Ford Foundation, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and support from the Southwest Association on Indian Affairs. He received the Distinguished Filmmaker Award from the Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival and the Maya Deren Award from the American Film Institute (1995). His work is in public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), National Gallery of Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Library of Congress, among others. He lives and works in Hotevilla, Arizona. 

ONLINE SCREENING DATES: January 9 – January 30, 2023

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM:  Hopiit, 14 min, 1982
This series is co-selected and presented with COUSIN collective and is generously funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Hopiit, 14 min, 1982

This lyrical short video, Masayesva’s first, is created from footage shot while working as director of the Ethnic Heritage Program in Hotevilla, Arizona. Hopiit is a montage of different views of Hopi landscapes and people during the cycle of the seasons. Work and play, ceremonial rituals and the rituals of everyday life throughout the year are woven together in a seamless vision that conveys the oral traditions of storytelling, the natural landscape of Arizona, and the richness of Hopi culture. It is intentionally unsubtitled as a way of honoring the Hopi language and to test the media literacy of viewers.

The productions of Victor Masayesva Jr., an independent videomaker working from his home on the Hopi Reservation, emerges from a history of intrusive visitation to the reservation by filmmakers and photographers since the beginning of the century. In his work, he presents aspects of the culture in terms unimpeded by non-Hopi preconceptions of what is significant, or, alternatively, by conceptions of the exotic which have so often inspired the images made of the Hopi. – Emilia Seubert

Watch Victor Masayesva Jr.’s Indian Time at Arizona State University.

All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy © Victor Masayesva Jr. Screening co-presented with Art Windsor Essex (AWE) and Canyon Cinema