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Backbone, 2022

Ink on antique Montana map
28.5” x 22.5” (framed)

Backbone is a tribute to women. Women are our true leaders and our backbone. Where would we be without women? Without women we would not be grounded in this world.

Tribute to Running Wolf, 2022

Ink on antique ledger paper
21.5” x 24.5” (framed)

Tribute to Running Wolf is a dedication to a Blackfeet warrior. The ledger portrays elements of Blackfeet tipi designs. Who would we be without our ancestors or identity? Without our ancestors we would not be grounded.

John Isaiah Pepion is an acclaimed artist, muralist and educator who hails from the Blackfeet Nation (Piikani Band of the Blackfoot Confederacy) in northern Montana. His Plains Indian graphic art combines traditional design and contemporary illustrations. John considers his art journey ceremonial because his understanding of his past, family, and culture grows with each piece he creates. “Through my art,” he says, “I find personal healing, cultural preservation and a deeper connection to place.”

A descendent of Mountain Chief, a Blackfeet leader who preserved history through numerous “winter
counts,” a series of pictographs drawn on buffalo hide, cloth, or paper that was used to help remember community history among some tribes of the Northern Great Plains. Best known for his ledger art, John comes from a family of artists where ledger art has been in my family for hundreds of years. He aspires to have a positive impact on his community though his art activities and beyond. When not creating art, he is an active public speaker and educator who has traveled the country speaking at public schools, organizations and with groups of aspiring artists. John holds formal degrees in Art Marketing and Museum Studies from United Tribes Technical College and the Institute of American Indian Arts, respectively.

In 2018, John began working with Native-owned Eighth Generation and their Inspired Natives Project with the goal of increasing his business capacity. His goal is to bring his cultural art to market while maintaining control over the stories embedded within it.

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