Acrylic on Canvas – January 2017
This is a painting that was actually difficult to make emotionally. It’s like in creating it, it was a painting I didn’t want to make but it revealed itself to me over the course of making it and told me what it was going to look like when all was said and done. And yet, even seeing it afterwards, I still wasn’t happy.. until I figured out what it was – and why it was made and now my heart aches. This is Pine Ridge. Before I go any further, I have to explain that to me painting is like a meditation or a prayer in which sometimes things reveal themselves in the process of making it – like they speak to me.
Pine Ridge is located in South Dakota and is a reservation in the USA that is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined and is also the poorest reservation. It’s key because the last of the Ghost Dances and the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29,1890 took place here. It was the end of the “Western Frontier” as we think of it.
To me this seems important to think about as our government continues to battle and disrespect the native american population. In the history of our country we’ve never done anything “great” or even “good” for this culture, this people. Our lasting impact on their lives is and continues to be disrespectful at best. My own great-great grandmother was a native american taken off of some unknown reservation and put through the american “re-education” program at Carlisle Indian School. Her name and appearance changed, her culture and family wiped out.. and bred out of her.
I may only have a drop or two of this blood in my system, but for me I can’t ignore that Native Americans are every bit brothers and sisters in our greater humanity. I cannot begin to think of them as any less nor help but feel compelled to speak out in the name of injustice where I see it… if only in a painting. It is our duty to care for it and protect it for future generations to share and enjoy like we have and, if anything to make it even better..
This artwork is a one of a kind piece hand painted by Stephanie Ishler of Hallyu Back. All artwork is for sale unless otherwise specified. If you are interested in purchasing this original painting, contact us here!
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