The concept of this original drawing is that the flute player is deep in thought and playing while staring into a campfire. This moves the light source to the front of and below the subject, which created a bit of consternation for the artist.
The intrument that the subject is playing is a duct flute with a moveable block whistle that can change the pitch of the sound. These block whistles are frequently carved with a totem, such as the horse head on this one.
Short Bull, depicted in this drawing, was a warrior of the Lakota tribe, who fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and a medicine man who brought the Ghost Dance religion to the Lakotas. Unfortunately, the Ghost Dance religion resulted in the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. After the Massacre, Short Bull was sent to serve a prison term at Ft. Sheridan, near Chicago, Because they wanted to remove the Ghost Dance leaders' influence, the federal government agreed to Buffalo Bill Cody's request that the prisoners be released to tour with Cody in his Wild West show. Short Bull, along with Sitting Bull toured with the show in Europe and the United States over the next two years. Later, Sitting Bull, as in a vision that he had had, was killed by his own people.
This pencil drawing was created in July of 2006. The size of the original is 15X20 and is drawn on 140# archival paper.
The original "Lakota Flute" is for sale.