The Night the Stars Fell by Lynnette Shelley

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

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 ). 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

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

Having a great love animals, fairytales, and world mythology, Pennsylvania artist Lynnette Shelley fuses these influences into her strikingly unique illustrations. Her artwork strikes a primal chord in many viewers, with almost Jungian associations to the colors and shapes. Her artworks have been likened to images from an undiscovered ancient civilization or culture.

View Full Profile


  • helene ruiz
    helene ruizover 2 years ago

    gorgeous! love that red! wow~

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 2 years ago

    Beautiful interlocking shapes!

  • Veronica Schultz
    Veronica Schultzover 2 years ago

    I love bison! Although, I usually call them buffalo…not because I’m partial to the terminology, but because my dad insists it’s the wrong name :) Fantastic work, as always!

  • Bunny Clarke
    Bunny Clarkeover 2 years ago

    Gorgeous work. Splendid creation.

  • Christina Brundage
    Christina Brun...over 2 years ago

    Incredibly impressive! Love your work!

  • kiko
    kikoover 2 years ago

    nice armony!

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.