The Songmaker Essay, Research Paper
The Songmaker by Blackbear Bosin, displayed at the Indian Center Museum in Wichita, is an interesting painting. The painting was done in 1970 using gouache and painted on a thirty inch by twenty-two inch canvas. It is in a private collection and the value of the painting is unknown.
The Songmaker is a Kiowa Medicine Man whose eyes are shut and he appears to be in the middle of a spiritual dance or singing. His eyelids, cheeks, and nose are all painted red as if he is wearing a mask. His hair is long and black with white long bangs; the headdress he wears is small and has three feathers hanging off the front of his face. On top of his head sits a songbird that seems to be singing with the man. He wears a white necklace with red beads and an emblem of some kind against his neck. He s keeping the beat with a drum and a ceremonial drumstick with long tassels hanging off of it. The whole scene seems sort of dreamlike with the center background being shades of violet that turn into gray. Outside of the gray is cream that turns into dark green. It all draws your attention onto the medicine man in the middle.
I think what the artist was trying to convey is that the medicine man is somewhat dreamlike. His eyes are painted, signifying sleep. Maybe the medicine man came to the artist in a dream or a vision. Maybe the medicine man is blind; or he could be seeing blood, signifying the pain of his people. There also appears to be red feathers or fire coming from the back of his head. My only guess of what this means is maybe fire burning through his head, again signifying pain. His headdress also may be covering his face or his eyes, but it is hard to tell. The bird on top is singing with him and maybe keeping beat with the drum. The bird s feathers also blend with his hair. This could represent his real headdress. The tassels from the drumstick flow well and blend in with the cream part of the background. I think the mood that is set is a surrealistic one, or dreamlike.
The value of this painting is listed at unknown, but I would love to have this piece in my living room. I would value this painting at five to eight thousand dollars, but that s just my opinion. The real value is taken in the person standing in front of the painting, the eye of the beholder. I like Native American Art a lot. My parents both have paintings by Native Americans and they paid a lot for them.
This painting could represent a lot of different things, but the meaning doesn t matter as long as you enjoy the painting. It is a dreamlike scene with red, green and violet being the primary colors. The Songmaker by Blackbear Bosin is very interesting, but a quality piece of artwork.