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American Bison skull, bas relief patinaed copper, turquoise center stones, coral branches, coral beads, stone, metal and glass beads
Approx. size – 26″w x 27″t x 9″d

All art begins with an inspiration. Sometimes it’s an object, a color, a texture…whatever it might be, it sparks the beginning of the creative process for an artist. “Thathanjka”, which means buffalo in the Lakota language is no exception. But his spark was an unusual one. It began with the gallery owner telling me that as this was their 5th annual western art show, the theme would revolve around the buffalo nickel, and from there, the artistic juices started to flow for me!

In researching the buffalo nickel, I discovered that there were actually three different models who sat for the artist in the creation of the Native American portrait on the front of the coin. Two of the men were Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne. The third was never accurately identified.

I became inspired by the connection between the bison and the plains Native Americans. They lived on their land together in harmony. The plains nourished the bison and in turn the bison nourished and clothed the Native Americans. Only the bison that were needed for survival were taken. There was great respect for these majestic animals.

In telling this story, I use the symbolism of tall plains grasses grazing up the face of the bison parting half way up to celebrate the beautiful geometric bead work that the Native Americans are so well known for. It is my hope that I have done both the bison and Native Americans justice and honor in the depiction of their harmonious life together.