Rapheal Begay

A Vernacular Response is an ongoing series of images representing everyday moments, yet diverse aspects of the Navajo Nation. In support of the Dine’ way of life, the documentation of environment celebrates and interrogates site/sight-specific perspective. As a form of contemporary Navajo storytelling, the series also acts as a (re)collection of intimate moments tied to my own understanding and ever-developing relationship to my surroundings. Thus, the visuals expand the possibilities of Dine’ cultural stewardship and an ongoing mission to explore the past, create the present, and curate the future.”


A desert field just off the roadside covered in snow and fog.
1. Field (Monument Valley, UT) 2019
Side of a rock with visible watermarks located at the base of the canyon.
2. Flow (Canyon de Chelly, AZ) 2019
Wheatfields Lake reflecting the color of the sky on a cloudy day.
3. Vanishing Point (Wheatfields, AZ) 2019
Wet red dirt with snow, ice, and water on the northside of the sheep corral.
4. Side Corral (Hunter’s Point, AZ) 2019
Evening view of orange red dirt and lit vegetation on the side of a rural road.
5. Roadside Attraction (Cowsprings, AZ) 2019
Blue sky with brown water running over the edge of a stream.
6. Tip (Hunter’s Point, AZ) 2019
Covered in snow and fog, Monument Valley just visible by the outline of its base.
7. Missing (Monument Valley, UT) 2019


Rapheal Begay is a photographer and curator from the Navajo Nation. Currently based in Window Rock, AZ, he serves as the Public Information Officer for the Navajo Nation Division of Human Resources.  In 2017, he obtained his BFA in Art Studio with a minor in Arts Management and Certification in Museum Studies from the University of New Mexico. He has exhibited, curated, and collaborated in creative initiatives highlighting Queer and Indigenous art throughout the Southwest.