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|Size:||40" x 30"|
|Medium:||Oil on canvas|
Communing with his ancestors, a Blackfoot spiritual leader directs sacred smoke to the heavens - his focus unbreakable and his faith unshakable.
For this painting, I wanted to depict a tribal elder with many winters under his belt. I painted the face of one of my favorite models, but aged him, adding lines on his face to depict years and wisdom. In addition, the man’s hairstyle - with a substantial topknot - indicates that he is an older member of the tribe.
Tobacco was used in the sacred rituals of the Blackfoot, with the idea that the smoke helped carry prayers up towards the heavens. The pipehead is made from red catlinite.
The man in Blackfoot Reverence has a high standing as a civil leader among his people - a status signified by the fringes of hair on his shirt which represent the individuals within the tribe he protects. Men who had the honor of these garments were called "shirt wearers."
I wanted to create a sense of vastness in the landscape behind the warrior to demonstrate how bold and unafraid he is standing out in the open. Notice the vastness of the Great Plains: This man would have been completely exposed and visible, with nowhere to hide. (Not that he would, of course.)