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(Itazipco/Cheyenne River Sioux)

Eagles Sending Prayers to the Universe, 2022

Acrylic on ledger paper
25” x 25”

To be grounded myself, I need to have a spiritual connection with the universe. The eagle messengers send my prayers in the four directions, from Unci Maka, “Mother Earth.”

The rainbow is a symbol of hope, and the dragonfly is also a messenger to the Wicahpi Oyate, “Star Nation.”

“Mitakuye Oyasin”/ We’re All Related, 2000

Acrylic on vintage lighted globe
25” x 30”

As the Lakota Sioux phrase Mitakuye Oyasin, “all my relations,” implies, we are all connected, all in this together. In our connectedness we seek to be grounded to the earth, ourselves and each other. Recovery is reciprocal. Heal yourself; heal the world. Heal the world; heal yourself.

Mitakuye Oyasin, “We are all related”

Jim Yellowhawk grew up on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. He is an enrolled member of the Itazipco Band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and also the Onodoga/Iroquois on his mother’s side. He has been immersed in the arts of his ancestors since he was a young boy. His grandmother Annie Yellowhawk was a traditional bead worker and role model for traditional ways, and his father Jerry Yellowhawk was and is a passionate artist in a variety of mediums. Jim graduated from Marion College, Indiana with a Bachelor of Science in Art. He also studied at Columbus, Ohio School of Art and Design.

Jim has been invited to perform Lakota men’s traditional dance at venues all over the world. Having spent time in New Zealand, his work is now exhibited in art galleries there. The recent focus of his art has been on healing, which included painting a mural at Eagle Butte Hospital in honor of his late wife Ruth Yellowhawk. He currently divides his time between the Black Hills of South Dakota and Golden Bay, New Zealand.

Traditional spirituality is woven into Jim’s daily life, work, practices and way of being. It keeps him in balance and guides his creative processes. The horse, buffalo, elk, geese and eagle nations are often represented in his art, in honor of the four winds. While his art is comprised of diverse media forms, his current passion is for ledger art, a traditional way of recording history for the native peoples in America. Jim’s techniques vary according to the feel of each piece. He likes to experiment and challenge himself. He hopes to leave his mark as an artist in a way that serves all people and works to provide a strong and positive role model for native youth.

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