I left my ancestral home, the Navajo Nation, to pursue my passion in fine arts at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana in 1998. I was inspired when I was able to transpose my thoughts and feelings into a visionary art form. Life's challenges diverted me from following my passion. Later while I was getting my BA in Native American Studies with a minor in Women's Gender Studies at U of M Missoula my creative passion of storytelling reemerged. I sought to bring my Navajo heritage to life in the broader world, which enabled me to connect to other cultures. Through my art I speak of my ancestry depicted as myth surrounding the faces and natural world phenomena that I encounter in my life. My work often is represented in dreamlike quality, as though the deepest part of me is inserting itself into my life here in Montana. I've been empowered by the process and with humility, pass these ideas into the world at large.


          I am my grandmother and my grandfather. I am my mother and my father. I am caretaker and the child. I am the provider and the protector. I am a teacher and a guide. I am the four-legged and the winged bird. I am nature and my surroundings. I am seer and story teller. It is with these creations that I my place, my roots, and my courage. I am Ashiihii (Salt Clan) born for the To'ahanii (Near-The-Water-Clan) and was born in the Navajo Nation. I am a gift from Creation as was told by our elders. I was raised by my grandparents Gilmore and Della Gray mountain of Navajo Mountain, Arizona.


          I could be each character in the painting. Our elders told of our lineage through oral traditions and the timeless ceremonies of our people. I learned of these teachings through my ancestors to become the strong, free-thinking woman who lives in two separate realms, Navajo and then Western society.


          The memory of my grandparents inspire my drawings, paintings and photography. I aspire to reflect their love and guidance in the stories I paint. Every stroke of the brush I make is a prayer of thanks to their gift of my life, visions, and my hope of the return to unity.


A. Castillo


Andrea Castillo

Multicultural Navajo Artist

Missoula, Montana

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