Bryans Gallery

Southwest Native American Arts and Jewelry in Taos since 1982

Jet Buffalo by Keli´i Eli

435.00
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Jet Buffalo by Keli´i Eli

435.00

Zuni Fetish by Keli´i Eli, exquisitely carved Pennsylvania jet buffalo with inlaid turquoise eyes.

Approx: 2.25" x 5.25" x 1.375".

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Zuni Fetish by Keli´i Eli, exquisitely carved Pennsylvania jet buffalo with inlaid turquoise eyes.

Approx: 2.25" x 5.25" x 1.375".

Keli'i Eli

Zuni Sculptor and Fetish Carver Keli'i Eli has won numerous awards while attending the Northern Arizona Museum Zuni Art Festival in May of 2017, including a first place ribbon in the Traditional Contemporary, and also a first place and then a second place in the same category for a Six directional guardian animal carving. Keli'i Eli applies traditional art techniques with natural stones to forge spiritual connections with people.

Keli’i Eli’s Artist Statement:

Hello, my name is Keli'i Eli, I am a Zuni Pueblo Sculptor and Fetish carver. I first started carving fetishes in the fall of November 2015, exactly one year from when I first was inspired to take on the tradition of carving from my uncle, Amos Pooacha, who has been laid to rest before I started to carve. My inspiration also comes from the natural world. I believe we are all born and reborn into many different forms of life based on our inherent chemical properties. I believe we are all connected in one form or another, by the chemical properties found in the human body and mother earth that allows us to feel this unbreakable chemical and spiritual bond. As our ancestors before us were laid to rest, I believe their chemical properties have been absorbed in mother earth, giving life to all living things and the stone in which I carve. Through this belief, my ancestors communicate with me through deep meditation, allowing me to breathe life into the stone, giving shape to its new form. Essentially, I become the student and the stone becomes the teacher. This respect is mutual, as I am also a student pursuing my bachelors degree in dental hygiene with the University of New Mexico.

Since 2015, my art constantly has taken on a metamorphosis of change. Not one sculpture or fetish carving is the same, making it truly unique and one of a kind. Art in sculpture allows me to hone the power within, bringing out the sheer beauty of the stone on a much greater scale.

For many that may not know, I am also half Hawaiian. I am proud to be Hawaiian Native and some of the Spirit Sculptures and Fetishes in which I create draw from my Hawaiian heritage.  The freedom through artist expression has made me appreciate life through the many forms my art can take.  I am dedicated to keeping the tradition of Zuni Fetish carving alive while undertaking new forms of art in Stone Sculpture, Silver Sculpture, and Steer Horn Sculpture. I am also supportive of new arising artist's aspiring to developing their craftsmanship in the art sector.   

Fetishes and Their Meanings

Armadillo - Slow, sure, in no hurry, gets things right, keeper of the home
Badger - Boldness, perseverance, individuality, “South”
Bat -Guardian of the night, cleaner
Bear -Strength, introspection, power of the soul, lightens emotional burdens, “West”
Beaver- Builder, strong sense of family & home, Keeper of the waterways
Bobcat - (Lynx) - Secrets, Clairvoyance, in tune with higher self
Buffalo - Endurance to overcome, great emotional courage, provider of all
Coyote - Trickster, associated with laughter, humor. Works well in a group
Deer - Great power of gentleness
Dolphin - Clairvoyance, trust, loyalty and the spirit of friendship
Eagle -Creator, teacher, loyalty, great integrity, spirit connection to the divine. “Sky”
Elk - Strength, agility and freedom
Fish - Purifier, character, ability to hide emotions
Fox -Camouflage, protection, ingenuity, quickness, great passion
Frog -Cleansing, rainmaker, silently warns of danger, associated with abundance
Hawk - Messenger of the sky, observer
Horned Toad -Self-reliance, longevity, protects ancestral bounty
Horse - Protector of the flocks, power, swiftness, strength, enlightenment, possesses healing powers
Hummingbird - Messenger, stopper of time
Lizard - Dreamer, conservation, agility
Mole - Amplifies connection with the earth, protects the fields “Underground”
Moose - Headstrong, unstoppable, longevity
Mountain Lion - Leadership, resourcefulness, great courage, high standards “North”
Mouse - Timid, secretive, sneaky
Owl - Clairvoyance, wisdom, patience, mental endurance, keeper of the night
Otter - Laughter, curiosity, mischievous
Rabbit - Virtue, serenity, quiet talent, restrained passion
Raccoon - Bandit, shy resourceful
Ram - Sense of self-worth, assures an increase in flocks
Raven - Magic, trickster, teacher, hoarder
Seal - Family oriented, possesses power in numbers
Sheep - Charity, elegance, passion, best at the arts, talents bring riches
Skunk - Wary, conspicuous, intense
Snake - Transmutation, life, death, rebirth
Squirrel - Natural intelligence, saver, protects reserves
Swan - Grace, ability to see the future, intuition
Turkey - Smart, elusive, festive
Turtle - Longevity, fertility, symbol of Mother Earth, home and reliability
Whale - Record keeper, carrier of history, understanding
Wolf - Teacher, family oriented, warm, deeply spiritual, pathfinder, “East”