Photo Quiz Answer!

Thanks to everyone who took the quiz last week!

Now, what is this object?

Preparring the Headdress cropped


This large painted mural, measuring 8 feet 5 inches long by 4 feet 3 inches high, is by renowned Cheyenne painter Archie Blackowl (Indian name: Mis Ta Moo To Va (Flying Hawk)). Done in acrylic paint on canvas, this painting depicts nine human figures (three women and six men) siting inside of a tipi engaged in a ceremony.  A blue tipi liner with rows of beadwork covering its surface and round beaded medallions at its upper edge decorates the area behind the figures.  A painted buffalo skull is displayed on the wall of the tipi in the center of the scene.  Two headdresses and a pipe bag are resting on the ground near the figures, and two of the figures are holding hand drums. The painting is completed in what is considered traditional “flatstyle” (or Bacone style), where there is no real desire to depict depth, or three-dimensional space. Instead, bold colors and lines, influenced in part by the Art Deco style, emphasize ethnographic accuracy of the scene.

Archie Blackowl (23 Nov 1911 – Sep 1992), who worked from the mid- to late-20th century, was trained at Ft. Sill Indian School in Lawton, OK, the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS, the Chicago Art Institute, and the University of Oklahoma. Blackowl led a varied life working as a teacher, an industrial painter for the aircraft industry, and even employed by Walt Disney Studios. But, his passion was always painting. Encouraged by his mentor Woodrow Wilson (Woody) Crumbo, Blackowl played a pivotal role in mid-20th century Native American art. Considered one of the most important Oklahoma traditional painters, Blackowl’s work captured the traditional Southern Plains culture and life. “Leave a mark. Put something down so that when the young people see it they will understand.” –Archie Blackowl, July, 1975

Drop by the University of Oklahoma’s Oklahoma Memorial Union to see this amazing piece for yourself! Just head to the second floor of the Union, and it will be on the North Wall of Beaird Memorial Lounge!

[Stephanie Lynn Allen]

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Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.


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