For a while now I’ve been pretty fascinated by bison – they are the largest land mammal in North America and have a very massive presence, both physically and spiritually (at least for certain indigenous tribes). If you’ve ever been up close to a live bison they are pretty awe-inspiring creatures.
True white bison (non-albino) are extremely rare (the National Bison Association has estimated that they only occur in approximately one out of every 10 million births) and in Native American cultures are considered sacred. To them the white bison are symbols of peace, hope, rebirth and unity.
I incorporated stylized wheat designs into the piece as wheat is a symbol of fertility and abundance (wishing an abundance of peace / hope). The red bison is depicted in a protective and loving manner over the young white calf, showing that peace is something that needs to be preserved and protected. Finally, the sky has a pattern of stylized shooting stars. This ties in the title of the artwork (“The Night the Stars Fell”), which is a reference to the extremely vivid Leonid meteor shower of 1833, which was seen all over North America (see http://astronomy.knoji.com/leonid-meteor-shower...).
One Sioux winter count hide, in reference to the 1833 Leonids, was interpreted as saying, “The entire sky was streaked with fire as myriads of meteorites flashed across the heavens.”
Many people thought that Judgement Day had come, or that the vivid sight was a sign from God. In African American history, the Night of the Falling Stars is also significant in that many of the slave owners, fearing Judgement Day, told their slaves where their families had been sold to and where (see http://www.angelfire.com/ar/freedmen/stars.html ). During the Night of the Falling Stars in 1833 it was recorded that the Cheyenne had killed a rare white buffalo, and inscribed a peace treaty on its hide. This is the first recorded example of an individual white bison, with the last white bison recorded was born this past June in Oregon at the Sacred World Peace Church, where they keep a small herd of white bison on a sanctuary / preserve. See http://www.sacredworldpeacechurch.com/white.htm
In many ancient cultures meteor showers were considered omens and was a sign of big change coming.
All of these symbols described in the above post are meant to signify that a big change is coming, an abundance of peace and hope, and we should be protective of it.
“The Night the Stars Fell”
36 × 36 inches
Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas