Four pieces of one of a Kind Native American art available at Wisdom’s First Annual Gala

Night Song by Adrian Larvie

Night Song

Night Song by Adrian Larvie

An Adrian Larvie original acrylic painting has been donated by board members Bob and Loye Ryan. An Oglala Lakota, Adrian was born in 1958 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  He received his Associate in Fine Arts degree from the Institute of Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; at the College of Santa Fe, he studied with Van Paquin, a respected Zuni artist.

Adrian is a multi-faceted artist who works with acrylics, oils and pastels on large canvases that are notable for fine matting and framing.  He also creates sculptures, featuring Native American themes in soapstone, pipestone, and alabaster.  One of his murals, a portrait of four Yakama chiefs, can be found on the south side of a building in Toppenish, Washington.  Other works include drum paintings and fetishes.

Adrian’s work is vibrant, featuring portraits of proud Native men and women in the colorful regalia of the Plains, as well as such well-known historical icons of Native history as Crazy Horse, Black Elk, Chief Joseph, Red Cloud and many others who are depicted along with power symbols embodying such concepts as spirituality, strength, creativity, wealth and wisdom.

Adrian’s work can be seen in galleries in Oregon, Washington and New Mexico. Some of his work makes explicit comments about the need for Americans to pay more attention to environmental issues; others focus on Adrian’s implicit wish to heighten the understanding of viewers about his culture and traditions and the spiritual and physical needs and goals of his people.

Shadow Spirit and Condors

Shadow Spirit and Condors

Award-winning artist, Lillian Pitt will be joining us at our Gala on June 22. She has generously donated a one of a kind (1/1)  piece of art called “Shadow Spirit and Condors.” It was just announced last month that this internationally renowned Warm Springs artist is recipient of the 2012 Museum at Warm Springs Twanat Award.

Vintage Navajo Sand Painting – Marriage of Earth with Sky

Vintage Navajo Sand Painting – Marriage of Earth with Sky

Vintage 1970’s Navajo Sand painting, The Marriage of Earth Woman and Sky Man

The joining of a man and woman in the Navajo marriage ceremony represents the union of the Navajo cosmos, Earth Woman and Sky Man. This sand painting was generously donated by a friend of Wisdom, Shelley Reed (Cherokee/Blackfoot). It is available at our silent auction.

Sandpaintings originated from Navajo healing ceremonies. Sand paintings, or dry paintings, are the most widely known form of Navajo ceremonial art. The Navajo term for sand painting is ‘iikááh, “place where the gods come and go.”

The purpose of sand paintings is to allow the patient to absorb the powers depicted. The ritualistic process may be likened to osmosis in which the evil in man and the deity penetrate the ceremonial membrane [sandpainting] in both directions. When the medicine man builds a sandpainting, he places the patient in the middle of it. To aid in the healing process, sand from the painting is rubbed over certain parts of the patient’s body. When the ceremony is over, the sandpainting is destroyed, thereby destroying the illness. Since the 1970’s the Navajo symbol of healing has become appreciated as a work of art.

The pigments used in a sand painting are obtained by collecting colored sandstone which is ground into a fine powder. Anyone who has traveled in the Southwest knows that the cliffs and the hills abound in color; reds, browns, and ochre-yellows. In addition, crushed charcoal is mixed with sand to produce black. Cornmeal, pollen from plants, and pulverized flower petals are also sometimes used. The pictures are made by sprinkling dry sands colored with natural pigments.

Athabascan Maiden 

Athabascan Maiden by William Harper

Athabascan Maiden by William Harper

Frank and Rosa Alby came over to Wisdom’s offices in May to bring over a beautiful oil painting of an Athabascan Maiden for our gala’s silent auction. The artist is William Harper and the painting from Alaska depicts a beautiful Athabascan maiden with an eagle feather in her hair that is gently blowing in the wind. The elaborate background in this painting shows traditional Athabascan beadwork designs. Some lucky person will be able to take this spellbinding portrait home.

I was very touched with the donation as I am also Alaskan Dine. We have always called ourselves Dine. Although most people know us as Alaskan Athabascan, we have recently declared ourselves Dine again. My band of people are called Deg Hit’an Dine and for thousands of years we have called the Yukon River and the village of Anvik our home. Although the first Russian explorers came here in 1834, archeologists have found our village remains to be over 12,500 years old.

When you join us at our Gala, you will see that the maiden in this portrait is smiling and her face is ceremonially painted with red and black markings. We are always smiling for some mysterious reason. I think it is because of the greatness of our ancestry and our gratitude that we made it through another winter at minus 70 degrees (that’s before the wind chill factor).

Frank and Rosa will be attending the Gala and you’ll have a chance to talk with them as well. He is Inupiat and Rosa is Haida.