Terrol Dew Johnson is a community leader, nationally recognized advocate for Native communities and renowned artist. A gifted weaver from a young age, Johnson has achieved national acclaim for pioneering abstract constructions that transcend familiar forms and materials in a way that invites reflection on a long-established practice. His work has won numerous awards and resides in permanent collections of many national museums.
Johnson’s intention to champion novel approaches to cultural traditions informs every aspect of his life, and led him to found Tohono O’odham Community action, an organization that advocates for a healthy and vital tribal community and the Alexander Pancho Memorial Farm, an operational traditional farm and an open classroom and resource for O’odham tribal members to learn traditional farming techniques, food preparation and wild harvesting.
“My work reflects who I am as a person… my culture… my family… the desert. I have learned much from my elders about tradition, patience and technique. I combine this respect for tradition with my own visions of the world I see around me. Many times, I dream a design, and it haunts me until I actually weave it. Heritage and vision combine in my work, reflecting the world in which I live.”
Terrol was awarded a Master-Apprentice Artist Award from the Southwest Folkife Alliance in 2017 to pass on his tradition.