Faces of Taos

Kaiiba Mountain

Sculptor/painter/beadworker/tattoo artist/fire twirler/student

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Kaiiba Mountain admits she's not the typical-looking grandma. The body and face tattoos were created by her own hand – the design on her forehead symbolizes staying on your own path and over her eyes, the ink dots remind her to keep her sixth sense strong and clear. “Yes, I like the nontraditional tattoo,” she admitted with a smile. “I’m honorable and responsible — I just look weird.”

Mountain first came to Taos 25 years ago with a close friend. It was love at first sight. She moved here nine years ago. “It seemed the space opened up very easily,” she shared. “Good friends here were pulling me.”

The multi-faceted artist of Ojibwe Indian descent — who is also a fire twirler, but “can’t do a cartwheel” — is raising her two young grandchildren while taking liberal arts classes, with an emphasis on art, at the University of New Mexico- Taos. Her goal is to work as an art therapist helping troubled children and/or teens. She can see herself teaching art at a local school. Mountain has a way with kids — they are drawn to her. And as for art, she has been drawn to it since childhood. “It’s fun and the arts keep me sane. It’s satisfying and healing.” 

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