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Artwork by J.D. Roybal

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About the Artist

(1922-1978) Jose D. Roybal, or Oquwa (Rain God), was a painter from San Ildefonso pueblo born in New Mexico. His parents were both potters and he was related to the famous painter, Awa Tsireh, who helped train him in the arts.

Roybal studied at St. Catherine's Indian School in Santa Fe, and later attended the Santa Fe Business College from 1956 to 1960. He served a tour of military service, but was discharged due to an injury.

Roybal prefered to use earth tones, using bold colors very moderately. He liked to incorporate small humorous images and lively characters into his artwork, which made his body of work very distinctive. His culture also impacted his work, as he focused often on rain images. Rain was a major feature of his culture. Perhaps most famous are paintings depicting Native American ceremonies. In these paintings, the men are generally dressed wearing traditional garb, wearing body paint. His human figures often have animated faces, which are immediately visible.

Roybal's artwork has been exhibited in the southwestern United States, most frequently in Arizona and Oklahoma. In 1968 he was showcased at the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at the Oklahoma Museum of Art, some ten years ago. From 1984 to 1985 his artwork traveled through Germany in a traveling exhibition hosted by the Philbrook Museum in Oklahoma. Examples of Roybal's artwork are included in the permanent collections of: the Heritage Center College in Pine Ridge, South Dakota; the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona and at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California.