“Tatanka: The Spirit of the Land”
Thundering across the plains, the sound of bison can be heard from miles as they run in the thousands… two hundred years ago there were millions of them. They walked incessantly searching for new valleys of tender grass… Their indomitable spirit imposing as the sound of their hooves claim power and reign…
An estimated 20 to 30 million bison once dominated the North American landscape from the Appalachians to the Rockies, from the Gulf Coast to Alaska. To the Native Americans, sharing the lands with Tatanka was a sacred and respected habitat, but human greed, power, and dominance over land put an end to that, reducing the population to just 1,091 by 1889. Today, approximately 500,000 bison live across North America. Unregulated shooting and loss of habitat have also been a hindrance to the bison in recent years.
Historically, the bison played an essential role in shaping the ecology of the Great Plains. They graze heavily on native grasses and disturb the soil with their hooves, allowing many plant and animal species to flourish.
Though bison once roamed across much of North America, today they are “ecologically extinct” as a wild species throughout most of their historic range, except for a few national parks and other small wildlife areas. This exhibit is an artistic eulogy to the bison, the spirit of the North American land.
Ta·tan·ka–tatənka is a Lakota word that literally means “Bull Buffalo.”
Tatanka will begin its roaming in the fall/winter of 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
Tatanka is a collection of my bison paintings. With it, I intend to deliver a story about the largest and most iconic mammal in North America and the importance it had in the Native American Cultures from time immemorial. It is a hymn to stoicism; a eulogy to a great teacher (as seen with the eyes of a neutral spirit) and a way to observe the impact humans have in our own shared environment with other species.
As a migrant, like bison were once, this is my own personal tribute to the American Buffalo, to its long struggle to survival. This bison world I re-created with palette knives and oil paints aims to capture not only the life, but also the essence and the spirit of this beautiful animal we have adopted as our American symbol alongside the bald eagle.
With this exhibit I officially join forces with all the nature conservation entities to deliver an educative art presentation about the importance of bison, both culturally and nature wise. Praise to the largest mammal of North America, our new ambassador and to its conservancy!
“Garcia’s work captures the spirit of his subject through his vibrant use of color and texture. The impressionist landscape attributes and minimal use of perspective elements allows the viewer to focus directly on the subject, allowing an appreciation for the use of movement implied by his brush strokes and creating a personal wildlife encounter. Garcia’s work captures the spirit of his subject through his vibrant use of color and texture. The impressionist landscape attributes and minimal use of perspective elements allows the viewer to focus directly on the subject, allowing an appreciation for the use of movement implied by his palette knives and creating a personal wildlife encounter.”
Elizabeth Forrest, BA. Art Business, Manchester University