World-renowned Navajo artist Bahe Whitethorne Jr. died yesterday at the age of 41. He was an accomplished painter, illustrator and muralist. KNAU’s Justin Regan has more.
Whitethorne grew up in Flagstaff in a family of artists. He was inspired by his father and mentor Baje Whitethorne Sr., a well-known painter. Whitethorne Jr.’s art was influenced by comics, graphic novels and the Star Wars movie series. He became a notable muralist and illustrated several children’s books. He was also an advocate for Native issues including uranium mining, scared sites and water. Longtime friend and musician Ed Kabotie describes Whitethorne as a “giver of energy”.
"When I came into Flagstaff, Bahe was one of the first people I met," says Kabotie. "And when I saw his work I was so intimidated. Because his work was so powerful. And it was always growing. It was always in motion. He’s the torch bearer of my generation."
Whitethorne’s family released a statement yesterday announcing his death. No details were given as to the cause.