Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Painting a View Past Prison Walls

Somewhere in the 40 years Leonard Peltier has been serving two consecutive life sentences in a maximum security prison for a crime he still says he didn’t commit, he found his way to paint and a canvas. What unfurled there were images that conjured the sense of home, the sense of spirit and ritual and resistance—the core love of his Native tribe—that first drove him to the ranks of the American Indian Movement. He grew up sketching and carving among tribal elders, but in prison, he has matured as a self-taught artist who turns time and again to Native Americans and wildlife for his oil paintings, rendering them with a poignancy that relays both sadness and persistence. He paints Mother Nature, he has said, because he gets to see so little of her.

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