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James Ayers--Sitting Bull

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"My paintings are more than just a slice of Native American history. They are the result of years of research combined with personal exploration and observation. I study historic artifacts, research customs and rituals, and marry these with my understanding of the struggles of modern Native American cultures.

"In the face of inevitable change, my mission is to honor the customs and beauty of traditional cultures through my paintings.

"Most of my paintings are fictionalized accounts of Native American lifeways rather than literal representations of specific events. Yet, I make sure that every facet of my work is historically correct — from the style of a man’s plaited hair to the weapons used and even the motifs which decorate tipis, clothing, and shields.

"Out of respect and honor for the people and cultures I paint, I strive to achieve the utmost honesty and authenticity I can attain. I have a belief that this authenticity provides a more poignant impression for the viewer."


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You said it, Pat!


Sitting Bull was intelligent, insightful, and prescient. Ayers depicts him well.


Yes, it is. And thanks for visiting, Beeld.


awesome native painting! thanks for sharing


I generally post paintings from the mid- to late 19th century, into the early 20th. When I came upon James Ayers's painting, I was struck by the majesty of Sitting Bull's portrait. Even though Ayers is very much alive, I had to post his painting.

Thanks, italiabella, Mazda, Leanne, and Judy, for enjoying the painting and thanks, Neville, for Sitting Bull's background information. Sad!


From the James Ayres Studio site:-

Although he died over 120 years ago, Sitting Bull still invokes feelings of awe and respect. I painted this image of Sitting Bull (or as he was know to his people, Tatanka Iyotake) for my 2010 one-man show, Portraits of Honor. This painting sold immediately, a testament to this man's place in history.

"What white man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me hungry and left me unfed? Who has seen me beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken?" Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?
-Sitting Bull

A Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man, Sitting Bull remained defiant of American military power and contemptuous of American promises to the end of his life.
Born around 1831 on the Grand River in present-day South Dakota, Sitting Bull was given the name Tatanka-Iyotanka, which describes a buffalo bull sitting immovably on its haunches. It was a name he would honor throughout his lifetime.
As a young man, Sitting Bull became a leader of the Strong Heart warrior society and, later, a distinguished member of the Silent Eaters, a group concerned with tribal welfare. Respected for his bravery and insight, he became head chief of the Lakota nation about 1868.
Before dawn on December 15, 1890, the policemen burst into Sitting Bull's cabin and dragged him outside. In the gunfight that followed, one of the Lakota policemen put a bullet through Sitting Bull's head. He was buried at Fort Yates in North Dakota, and in 1953 his remains were moved to Mobridge, South Dakota, where a granite shaft marks his grave.
Sitting Bull is remembered among the Lakota not only as a remarkable leader and fearless warrior but also as a loving father, a gifted singer, a man always amiable and friendly toward others, a deeply spiritual man who had the power of visions and who made strong medicine for the tribe he loved.

Thanks, Gayle. This is a truly superb painting.


He looked so majestic, I had to solve it. Thanks Gayle!


It's a fine and respectful painting of a very proud man. I hope Sitting Bull liked it.

That painting is awesome! James Ayers, you are blessed with an amazing talent. Thanks for sharing.

What an imposing figure! Great puzzle. Thanks for posting.