R. Tom Gilleon

Dirge With Black Feet


oil on canvas
50 x 80 in.
(framed) TBD
Dirge With Black Feet is my statement on the affirmation of life—on the value of leading a positive and optimistic life. The drawing of the dancing shaman on the middle tipi is my interpretation of the Ghost Dance imagined in Blackfeet culture. Spread among Plains and Western tribes, the Ghost Dance was a spiritual movement practiced to stop the dying of their people—a creative, heroic response to preserve their culture and renew the Earth from the onslaught of westward expansion.
I am a fan of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Dirge Without Music, which speaks about her unwillingness to accept death. I see a parallel in these two different cultures in their yearning to preserve and sustain their vibrancy: Edna from her individual point of view, Ghost Dancers from the tribe’s.