Spirit of the Painted Pony
- A celebration of First Nations people
As a celebration of Native American Month, Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, North Dakota launched the "Spirit of the Painted Pony" project with artist in residence, Monte Yellow Bird, a Hidatsa / Arikara artist who grew up in White Shield, North Dakota. The campus and the LRSC American Indian Club are hosting Mr. Yellow Bird during the project.
The Spirit of the Painted Pony project will be carried out from November 18 until December 3, 2005. Mr. Yellow Bird will have his art on display in the College Library and in the Welcome Center. In addition to the art display, Mr. Yellow Bird will conduct public painting sessions from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the project. He will also provide guest lectures in 6 LRSC classrooms. Once completed, the "Black Pinto Horse", acrylic on statue work will be displayed at Lake Region State College for several months.
Mr. Yellow Bird credits a special teacher with much of his success in art today. She encouraged him to develop his special talents and at the age of 15 he enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Later he studied Art and history at North Dakota State University and completed a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree at Minot State University. Mr Yellowbird has developed his own style of work by collaborating "First Nation" images with 20th century "Expressionism". Oil painting was his first love, but he also creates works in acrylics, watercolor, printmaking, and ceramics mediums. In addition to his artwork, Mr. Yellow Bird is a frequent public speaker, making culturally relevant presentations to audiences that span from children to adults.
Watch the progress of the project...
Poetry Writing Favorite
Coming To Life
By Sarah Boone
A blank canvas in the form of a pale, cold horse
Stares at me with eyes that don't yet exist.
I doubt this lifeless statue could ever glow
With the spirit the artist promises,
But I will give it a chance.
The first coat is applied by two leading women,
And a glimmering ivory complexion appears.
I find a ray of hope through the sparkle
As others join in, painting spots there and here.
From the smallest child to the most elderly present,
People make ebony swishes with the brush;
Adding a bit of themselves to the horse.
They're giving it a life, granting it a soul.
When each has had his turn, the artist begins;
Sweeping hues of greens and blues
Over the obsidian sections.
Is he an artist or a story-weaver?
He's making a tale told in pictures and colors
Which sing the plot instead of simply telling.
Soon I see the breath that was promised
Emerging from the horse
As more and more life is added.
It amazes that something inanimate
Can be so vibrant with vivacity.
Just as the artist promised,
Life sings from what was once only stone.
Native American Month Celebrated at LRSC
Devils Lake Journal - November 21, 2005
Novina West - Journal Staff Writer
Devils Lake artist Monte Yellow Bird is helping Lake Region State College honor Native American Month. A ceremony was held Friday (November 18) at LRSC to launch Yellow Bird's latest art project tied in with other activities throughout the college and area schools.
With our region's rich Native American heritage, the Diversity committee at LRSC looked at ways to highlight the occasion. About the same time Monte Yellow Bird approached the school in regards to a large horse sculpture he has been asked to paint on behalf of Easter Seals. Also, at the same time the American Indian Club formed at the college. As Vice President of Student Services, Laurel Goulding said "One thing lead to another" in the collaborative effort and the project was brought to the college.
Yellow Bird's project is to paint a life size sculpture of a horse. Many of the images to appear on the horse represent members of the community. The horse will be one of several pieces by various artists available at an art auction next year in Bismarck to raise money for Easter Seals.
"I am honored to use the creator's gift to help those who cannot help themselves," said Yellow Bird in his brief speech Friday.
A similar horse was created by Yellow Bird in the past and auctioned in Minot, also on behalf of Easter Seals. That horse, whose images represent family to the artist, was purchased by Northern Bottling Company, the region's Pepsi bottling company.
Northern Bottling purchased the horse with the intention of keeping it in North Dakota and allowing it to be displayed at various sites around the state. They were happy to lend the horse to LRSC where it will be on display, along with other pieces of Yellow Bird's work, while Yellow Bird works at creating the second one.
Yellow Bird will have several horse painting sessions at the college which will be open to the public from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays over the next two weeks. In conjunction with that, Yellow Bird is also scheduled to offer lectures and a painting workshop through the office of continuing education at LRSC.
Both Sharon Etemad, President of LRSC, as well as Cynthia Lindquist of Candeska Cikana were on hand for the event. Both were asked, as strong women leaders, to paint the white undercoat of the horse.
Julius Holy Bear of the newly formed American Indian Club gave an introduction followed by secretary Sara Peltier who read a brief biography of Yellow Bird. Doreen Yellow Bird was a special guest speaker at the activity.
An important part of the event was a purification of the horse statue and Yellow Bird by John Chaske to give the project a clean start.
The event was planned in honor of Native American Month. Along with Yellow Bird's art, other activities have been planned including an essay contest by the English department, and a coloring contest about horses that is being offered to younger students in the region. All of these activities, including Yellow Bird's art are in the spirit of bringing the two cultures together as a community, of building bridges and understanding.
After Etemad and Lindquist began the painting of the undercoat they invited others to join in. From the youngest children visiting from the campus daycare center to Langer Gokey of Northern Bottling to an elderly woman from the community, all took a turn with a brush to add a bit of their own spirit to the artist's work.