Dirge With Black Feet is my statement on the affirmation of life—on the value of leading a positive and optimistic life.
The title reflects the poem “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. In her poem, she speaks about how she doesn’t approve of going to the grave. I see a parallel—although she speaks about the death of an individual and my piece speaks about the death of a culture.
The Ghost Dance was started by a leader of one of the North Plains Tribes who had a vision it would turn back westward expansion and their way of life would return. This affirmation for life was adopted by almost all the tribes to stop the dying of their culture.
This painting is my celebration of their heroic unwillingness to accept death — to choose an optimistic outlook for life in the darkest hour of their history.
I’m so glad this piece has been selected for The Masters—it has a lot of meaning to me. And what an honor to be included in this show with so many fine artists. Like being called up to play Yankee Stadium!
With great respect and gratitude - Tom