"Born in Tuba City, Arizona as a member of the Navajo nation, Mary Morez led most of her life in Phoenix, where she became an illustrator, fashion designer, painter, graphic artist, draftsman and museum curator.
Morez' parents died when she was young, and she was placed under the care of her grand-parents on the Reservation. They sent her as a young girl to the Phoenix Indian School, where she was adopted by a non-Indian couple and learned about a culture much different from her own. However, she made great effort to stay close to her own heritage through communication with her grand-parents and extensive study.
After attending the Indian School, she enrolled in the Maricopa Technical College and the Ray Vogue School of Art in Chicago. She also studied in Tucson at the University of Arizona, which she attended in 1960 on a summer scholarship from the Southwest Indian Art Project. Her art talent led to numerous jobs, but she was handicapped throughout her life from childhood polio and subsequent corrective surgery. She continued to suffer from complications as an adult, and ill health led to a fifteen-year period when she did very little painting. However, in the 1990s she again took up "the brush".
She also devoted much volunteer time to the Phoenix Indian Hospital.As an illustrator, she was published in the "Navajo Times", "The New Mexico Review" and the "Legislative Journal". She also did commercial artwork for the Phoenix Indian Center, Native American Film Festival, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and jackets for Canyon Records.
Of her life, she said: 'When I grow up, I want to know I've left something behind. Not as an artist but as a human being who loves and cares and tends and helps other human beings. To do that is to walk in beauty.'" Taken from Askart.com
"I knew Mary well enough to have traded an article I wrote on her for one of her paintings. In addition to her art, Mary left behind a lovely and accomplished daughter.
Mary's memorial service held in a tiny church in downtown Phoenix was the most moving tribute to a person of any culture I've ever attended. Independantly attendees brought examples of Mary's artwork to the chapel and positioned them in front and in the back of the building, adding sincerity and warmth to the occasion to honor Mary. Professional status had no weight that day. All that mattered was that you knew, loved and admired Mary Morez." Corinne Cain