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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Tears In Heaven

Tears In Heaven

2017 - Art Winner

Tanisha Spotted Bull

Cardston, AB
Age 18

Author's Statement

The story that inspired my art piece, which is the formal statement of this piece, is very important to me. While I was searching for knowledge I came across videos based on the Highway Of Tears. It's based on all the strong woman who walked on the Yellowhead highway 16, in British Columbia, Canada. This painting is dedicated to all the brave woman and families who lost someone close to their hearts. For the people who don't know about the ‘Highway Of Tears’, it’s about the hundreds of lives that became homicides to becoming a lost person, nowhere to be found. There have been over 500 cases on these crimes and only half of them were solved. These victims were mainly Indigenous, Native American females. My goal is for the painting to speak for itself. I want people to realize how important this Highway is. The four women that are drawn towards the back represent all the pure lives that were taken from young to old. Everyone is different in their own unique way. Below are two children on a Pendleton blanket. They represent children of innocence. This relationship between a sister, a cousin, or a friend shows a love that's unconditional. Each object around them is a symbol of something meaningful. I wanted to make every detail stand out. One of the first things I created was a butterfly. I chose a butterfly because it symbolizes strength. Even though it is a small creature of the Creator, its strength is immeasurable. The other thing I chose to do was a Bison head. In the Native Culture, a Bison represents survival. It is a big strong creature: “I will survive”. The second to last symbol are the flowers. The flowers I've chosen -sunflowers, violets, and castillejas -show happiness, sisterhood, love, and our culture. Flowers can be such a beautiful sight and so refreshing to see. Lastly, the faceless faces. I want my viewers to see what they want to see, to use their imagination. Everyone sees things differently and I want to give people that option. I do hope that someday this world will spread out love instead of hatred. Thank you everyone for your time. I am happy and thankful to have this opportunity. I hope you enjoy my painting.