This morning Val and I attended the monthly business meeting of our DAR chapter. The program today was a slide presentation, “Traditional American Indian Flat-Art Painting” by one of our members who is a Kiowa. She gave an overview of the history of Indian art, including petroglyphs, calendars and ledger paintings. She showed some photos of her Kiowa ancestors and many examples of the various art forms. Ledger art is so named for drawings that were being done on the pages of accounting ledger books which were often acquired at forts and other frontier outposts in the Great Plains.
Some of the most famous artists are the Kiowa Five who gained international fame: James Auchiah (1906-1974), Spencer Asah (1905/ 1910-1954), Jack Hokeah (1902-1969), Stephen Mopope (1898-1974) and Monroe Tsatoke (1904-1937). They were from the Anadarko area of Oklahoma. Lois (Bougetah) Smoky (1907-1981) was one of the original students and the only female at the University of Oklahoma. At that time it was customary among the Plains tribes that women were not allowed to draw or paint in a representational style; they were expected to use only geometrical designs. Because of this feeling, Smoky fought some resentment on the part of the Kiowa group at the University. Her outstanding talent was never allowed to develop. Many of their works are displayed at the Jacobson House located on the campus of The University of Oklahoma in Norman. (www.jacobsonhouse.com/art-gallery/)