Sunday, July 15, 2007
Native American Paintings
Admire The Trail of Tears, all the icons are there : the freezing snow, the people suffering, but also hope and protection, confidence that the people survive. Note the Black Sun, a signature referring to his Indian Name.
Being Indian inspired an important part of Tony Mafia’s work. I use Indian since he didn’t like political correct speak. His father was Onondaga Cherokee. So he paints, hunting scenes, legends of different tribes and regions. He gets angry when in Canada a Six hundred years old sacred golden spruce if felled one night, just for fun. Thus he paints “The tree” and “The sentinel” in which a magical landscape is guarded by the sentinel raising from the rock. As mentioned before sometimes the Indian symbolism is mixed in with the self-portraits as these elements are mixed in his person. Except for subject matter, these paintings have nothing in common with “South Western Art” which leans dangerously close to kitsch: worn clichés and situations that can be recognized and understood in one look. In contrast, in Tony’s work it are the elements of form and color that touch you and only in further viewing the icons can be recognized and deciphered and the magic of colors is let loose in a “story”.
A Navajo with hawk at the moment of taking flight