As a young boy Alvin Marshall was taken from his home on a Navajo reservation and placed in boarding schools where he was not permitted to speak the Navajo language or practice its traditions. By the age of ten he had lost both of his parents and it was his grandparents that taught him his Navajo culture which he hopes to pass on in his figurative sculpture.
Marshall served in the US Army where he did some work in illustration. After his service he moved to the Shiprock Reservation where he worked first as a diesel mechanic and later as an illustrator. At that time he began sculpting and would go on searches for stone with his friend, Oreland Joe.
Marshall is one of the most accomplished sculptors working today and he is gaining increasing attention on the Native American art scene.
Over the last two decades, Alvin has received much acclaim in the art world. He has been included in the Rising Stars 2001 exhibit at the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg, AZ. In the early 80"s, he was named Sculptor of the Year at the Native American Art Show sponsored by the famous Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Marshall's images that emerge from alabaster stone tell stories of his Navajo culture. Working through a process relying on his ability to visualize "memory photos", he says: " I often feel like an instrument through which my art flows".
Marshall believes there is a need for spiritual connection among different peoples. His special gift is the ability to produce art that embodies an authentic spirituality that can unite. He worries that "we've lost the togetherness as a people" and hopes that through his art he can share the closeness and harmony that was at the heart of Navajo life.
Despite his successful career as one of today's best Native American stone sculptors, Alvin remains a quiet, spiritual man who lives in his native Four Corners area of New Mexico with his wife Laverna and five children.