The Sweet Smell of Home

The Life and Art of Leonard F. Chana

Leonard F. Chana (Author), Susan Lobo (Author), Barbara Chana (Author)
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A self-taught artist in several mediums who became known for stippling, Leonard Chana captured the essence of the Tohono O’odham people. He incorporated subtle details of O’odham life into his art, and his images evoke the smells, sounds, textures, and tastes of the Sonoran desert—all the while depicting the values of his people.

He began his career by creating cards and soon was lending his art to posters and logos for many community-based Native organizations. Winning recognition from these groups, his work was soon actively sought by them. Chana’s work also appears on the covers and as interior art in a number of books on southwestern and American Indian topics.

The Sweet Smell of Home is an autobiographical work, written in Chana’s own voice that unfolds through oral history interviews with anthropologist Susan Lobo. Chana imparts the story of his upbringing and starting down the path toward a career as an artist. Balancing humor with a keen eye for cultural detail, he tells us about life both on and off the reservation.

Eighty pieces of art—26 in color—grace the text, and Chana explains both the impetus for and the evolution of each piece. Leonard Chana was a people’s artist who celebrated the extraordinary heroism of common people’s lives. The Sweet Smell of Home now celebrates this unique artist whose words and art illuminate not only his own remarkable life, but also the land and lives of the Tohono O’odham people
“Leonard Chana spoke, and painted, from his heart and deep cultural roots. His shared insights into the past and present of the O'odham, leavened by his gentle humor and unsullied by third-party interference, have no peer in the published literature of his people. While The Sweet Smell of Home is about these quintessential desert dwellers, it is also about all of us who find ourselves joined in an enterprise we call ‘life.’ ” —Bernard Fontana, author of A Guide To Contemporary Southwest Indians
“The insight of oral culture highlights artistic perception in this heartfelt book. For a cultured artist such as Leonard Chana, the words are in the art and the art is in the culture.” Jose Barreiro, National Museum of the American Indian
“Leonard Chana’s drawings and paintings reflect his deep love for and understanding of his place and culture. His commentary gives us even greater access to the next-door but far-off world of the Tohono O’odham. A truly generous book.” —Jim Griffith, The Southwest Center, University of Arizona
“Rarely is the life of an artist so clearly captured and illustrated in the author’s own voice. To hear Chana’s stories surrounding each artistic venture makes his work come alive.” —Susan Penfield, author of Forty Years On
The Sweet Smell of Home
168 Pages 8.5 x 10 x 0.4 Published: Paperback (9780816528196)

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