Tribal Affiliation: Yaqui
Amado Maurilio Peña, Jr. was born in Laredo, Texas in 1943. He studied art and education at Texas A & I (now Texas A & M Kingsville), where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Art is his first love, and he has been a successful professional artist for more than 30 years. He taught in Laredo, as well as in Crystal City, and Austin, Texas; he continues to teach as part of the Studio Art League program at Alexander High School in Laredo. Pena also serves an adjunct professor in the College of Education at the University of Texas. He has been a presenter at many national education conferences.
As a Mestizo of Mexican and Yaqui ancestry, Pena’s art celebrates the strength of a people who meet the harsh realities of life in an uncompromising land. His work is a tribute to the Native Americans, who survive by living in harmony with an adversarial, untamed environment. Places such as Canyon de Chelly, Spider Rock, Monument Valley, Enchanted Mesa, Acoma, and Black Mesa are part of an enduring landscape that speaks of the ancient heritage of a region which inspires his art. Defined by bold color, form and dynamic composition, Pena communicates his vision of a land, its people and their art.
Amado Peña is recognized as an Artisan of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. This is a particularly high honor and one that he cherishes. He is dedicated to furthering the public’s knowledge and interest in the Tribe, its art, its history, and its culture. He is also known for his humanitarian efforts, and his fund-raising activities have benefited charities such as the March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Native American Rights Fund and the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund. The Amado and JB Pena “Art Has Heart” Foundation, established in 1994, provides opportunities for low and modest income students in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona to further their education in the arts.