Native artist takes part in Dubai Art Expo

Submitted Photo Monte Yellow Bird Sr., second from left, is shown with his painting, “The journey, A gathering of nation,” and other dignitaries at the Dubai Art Expo 2021. Yellow Bird was the only artist from the United States selected to take part in the event.

During the Nov. 5 opening evening of an extraordinary three-day gathering of more than 500 artists from over 170 nations,

Monte Yellow Bird Sr., a member of the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa Nation, participated as the only artist from the United States selected to appear in the recent Dubai Art Expo 2021. The three-day expo beginning Nov. 5 at The Meydan Hotel Dubai, included more than 500 artists from over 170 nations.

Yellow Bird was selected to represent the United States and his Native People at the expo.

“This was a great, great honor for me, to represent both my country and my people,” said Yellow Bird who presents his work under his spiritual name “Black Pinto Horse.”

Yellow Bird grew up in White Shield. His higher education includes attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and graduating from Minot State University with a bachelor of fine arts degree. He lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where he owns and operates Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts.

Organized by curator Aurela Cuku, founder of the Artissima Art Agency in Dubai, the Dubai Art Expo dedicated itself to celebrating and encouraging the appreciation of global arts, culture, and heritage.

“Ms. Cuku began collecting my work several years ago when I took part in a month-long artist residency in Abu Dhabi,” said Yellow Bird. That city is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai has become the trade, tourism, and cultural hub.

For the Dubai event, Yellow Bird decided to create a special artwork that spoke specifically to the spirit of peace and conservation shared by the native peoples of North America and the Arab world. Painted in his contemporary Native American/expressionist style inspired by the 19th-century ledger art created by Great Plains tribes displaced from their homelands, the 24-by-34-inch oil-on-canvas piece entitled “The journey, A gathering of nations” features in its four quadrants an Arabian oryx, a white antelope species brought back from the edge of extinction through the efforts of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; the American bison, sacred to Native American peoples; an Indian lodge, with a warrior riding past on, most appropriately for the artist, a black pinto horse; and the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, named for the founding father of the UAE, above which flies a golden falcon, national bird of that nation.

“My goal in the painting,” Yellow Bird explains, “was to express the emotional ties that exist between two distant peoples who share a dedication and honor to preserving their environment.”

At the grand opening reception in The Meydan Hotel, Yellow Bird, dressed in a tribal regalia. unveiled his painting for attending dignitaries and the press. He then shared a traditional tale of a meeting between a buffalo and a porcupine, and its tragic end for the larger creature.

“It’s life lesson is about the importance of building relationships but also being careful about who you bring into your life,” said Yellow Bird.

Yellow Bird followed that story with a song he composed for Native flute in celebration of his journey.

Yellow Bird’s painting is now on display at Artissima Gallery in Dubai, awaiting one of his avid international collectors. Meanwhile, Yellow Bird has already been invited to take part in next year’s big international Art Expo, slated to take place in Italy in November 2022.


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