Young Plains Indian
The distinctive portraits of the contemporary West and its traditional culture have earned James Bama the respect of art collectors and critics worldwide. There is no mistaking the texture found in a Bama painting; whether skin, stone, cloth or leather, the detail speaks volumes about the lives of the artist’s subjects.
“I saw this young man in the grand entry at a Crow Fair and photographed him during a moment when the parade halted,” Bama explains of “Young Plains Indian.” “I was struck by the symbolism of the wings tied across the brave’s back, making him look like a messenger of death with the feather in his hair crossing the wings as a counterpoint. The combination of outfit with dramatic attitude was a happy accident, as most Indians today don’t have quite the look of those photographed around the turn of the twentieth century. But this brave could have been living in 1879. It is something you could never get in a pose —the look in his eyes was positively mesmerizing.”