LOS ANGELES - Three Affiliated Tribes member and White Shield native Monte Yellow Bird, aka Black Pinto Horse, received first place with his ledger piece titled "Watch the Birdie," which won the category of painting and drawing in an art competition at the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles, competing against world-renowned artists such as painter Tony Abeyta and ledger artist Michael Horse.
"Watch the Birdie" is reminiscent of the old studio portraits taken of Native peoples in the late 1800s, according to a news release.
"I created the piece for the 8th Red Nation Film Festival, which is celebrating 35 films," Yellow Bird said in the release. "Actress and executive director of Red Nation Film Festival Jonelle Romero commissioned me to do the artwork. Back in the '70s, I first met the actress when I was fortunate to work with her in the movie, "A Girl Called Hatter Fox."
This ledger piece by Three Affiliated Tribes member and White Shield native Monte Yellow Bird, aka Black Pinto Horse, titled “Watch the Birdie,” won first place at an art competition at the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles.
Their paths crossed again when Romero became an admirer of the artist's work, the release continued.
"When she asked me, I was delighted and thought, what a wonderful way to be a part of this important event," he said.
Yellow Bird's piece is very symbolic with color and design. The chiefs sitting, both young and old, overlooking this event are witnessing change, collected by a man-made machine. The yellow bird landing on the photographer's finger is the witness of the power of the "Great Mystery" and the irony in the phrase, "Watch the birdie," spoken by the photographer just before the photograph is taken. The puppies are important to the artist's tribe; the sacrifice that is made to poverty and sickness on behalf of the people.
Yellow Bird was also awarded the "Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship" from the First Peoples Fund in Rapid City, S.D.
Yellow Bird graduated from Minot State University, according to the release. He is currently working in the studio on an exhibit that will travel the state of North Dakota, "The Poor Boy and the Mud Pony," to be exhibited in museums in 2013-14. The exhibit is tentatively scheduled to show at MSU in October 2013.