Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Crazy Horse Memorial

Among about 1000 other artifacts and art, arranged to my eye haphazardly, hangs this painting in the visitor center at the Crazy Horse Memorial.
It might not seem that special if you didn't read the caption:
No explanation; no context. I guess if you have to ask who Leonard Peltier is and why he might be creating art with such materials, the sponsors of the Memorial don't think it is worth trying to explain. I can get that.

When completed, the Crazy Horse sculpture, blasted from a mountain, will be the largest such creation in the world. Begun in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski at the request of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear, thus far only the chief's face has been completed, though the mountain is being laboriously reshaped.
Not too surprisingly, the foundation carrying on the work wants neither federal nor state sponsorship. The progress of the project depends on visitor contributions, so the memorial is well organized to accommodate both the curious and the supportive. Today it was full of throngs of (apparently white) tourists on family vacations.

The weather can change fast in South Dakota.

The Memorial hopes in time to serve as the site for the Indian University of North America. Already, native students serve as paid summer interns for college credit. Here's the Memorial's rendering of what the completed sculpture and complex will look like:
This project requires taking a long view.


Rain Trueax said...

My favorite place to visit in that area is where Crazy Horse actually spoke from, was born and some say secretly buried. Bear Butte. It's outside of Sturgis. I've climbed it several times as it's sacred ground, so to the Cheyenne and Lakota and maybe other Plains tribes. You see prayer cloths and tobacco on the trees going up, sometimes Indians walking the trail barefoot. They do vision quests there. It's asked that you be prayerful as it is holy ground. Even the Sturgis motorcycle rally cannot take away the feeling of that butte and what it means. Two trails up.

Rapid City has a great museum; and if you are near Pipestone, Minnesota, that's worthwhile too as there all the tribes went for the stone they used for their peace pipes. They still make them there and it's from where my peace pipe came. :)

Hattie said...

It also calls for the suspension of any notions of good taste.

janinsanfran said...

Hi Rain -- If I ever get back to this area (and I sure hope to) I'll take up your suggestions. The land indeed feels power-filled somehow; today we climbed Harney Peak. Despite the crowds, people had hung prayer offerings.

Hi Hattie -- yes, not great taste. The audacity of the project impresses; not the art. Interestingly, Borglum's Mt. Rushmore folds into the contours of the land; it is about 1/6th the size of the potential Crazy Horse. The latter reshapes an entire mountain to a human/equine figure.

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