"FANCY SHAWL DANCERS"
Like just about everything else I seem to do, this piece started out as a classroom demonstration. I was showing my students how to apply collage surfaces and glued a piece of fringed fabric to a 24" x 48" sheet of primed masonite. From there I started building up the images of three, Native American, Fancy Shawl Dancers.
I have been intrigued by the Fancy Shawl Dance since I discovered it a few years ago. It is a modern dance which provides Native American women a chance to show their athletic and performance skills equal to those of men. It has no single tribal affiliation and costuming can be just about anything the performer wants as long it features flowing fringe/ribbons and light weight fabrics. When performed, the dancer nearly lifts off the ground and it's an amazing sight to see the showmanship of a skilled Fancy Shawl performer.
In this piece, I wanted to show something of a progression of the dance and the dancer. I envisioned the dancer on the left to be the elder moving slower and in a more traditional fashion. I saw the center dancer becoming faster and more athletic and finally I wanted to portray the dancer on the right as the flashy youngster who spins about with amazing agility and quick, pounding footsteps.
The dessert for me in this piece was painting all the tiny bead work and all those ribbons and fringe. I really wanted to capture their movement. Since this piece is built from photographs I found and didn't personally take (even though I altered and changed lots of elements) I don't intend to sell it. I plan to add a few more finishing touches and maybe put some bead work along the edges of the glued fabric background, varnish it and hang it in my home.