Above Ground, 2022
Graphite, micron ink, colored pencil/original 1902 ledger page
20.62” x 15.25”
In Above Ground I bring the influence of the skies of South Dakota into my artwork, which is the source of inspiration in most of my work. In this particular piece, numbers represent my heritage, Oglala Lakota. The nine buffaloes represent the nine districts of Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota. The seven values of the Lakotas, which encourage a sense of harmony with Creation, oneself and others are indicated by the stars: Praying, Respect, Caring, Honesty, Generosity, Humility and Wisdom.
Standing Ground, 2022
Graphite/original 1897 ledger page
19.5” x 15.25
Growing up as a kid, I used to lie in the tall grasses and look up into the sky, watch the clouds and daydream. I never realized how this experience would cross over into my artwork and echo a sense of being grounded. This work is a reminder of how my single mother raised her three sons. She is represented by the buffalo who is “standing ground” while overlooking and protecting her sons, represented by the three tipis in the sky.
Wade Patton is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe and grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, surrounded by a rich culture of music and art. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Black Hills State University and held his first solo art show at the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City.
While pursuing art opportunities on the East Coast of the United States, he longed for home. And he began expressing what he missed in South Dakota - the beautiful splendor of the Black Hills, the landscape and skies. He started to draw the landscapes as a reminder of home, and in doing so, reconnected within himself in his artistic expression, and started attracting the interest of collectors and galleries, including back in South Dakota.
Missing his family, he realized how much he needed to return home, and to pursue his art in the place where he found the most inspiration. That decision brought him into a thriving and inspiring art community and a new diverse contemporary Native art scene.
The influences of his land and ancestry are prevalent in his artwork, which is respectful of his people, their stories and the land where he is from. Wade is a storyteller for his culture, keeping the Lakota legends alive in a contemporary manner. Through storytelling and design, he draws people into his work and explains the meanings he infuses in his art (symbology, colors, animals, etc.), thereby creating conversation.