On the opening night of November 5 of an extraordinary three-day gathering of over 500 artists from over 170 nations,
Monte Yellow Bird Sr., a member of the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa nation, participated as the only artist from the United States selected to appear at the recent Dubai Art Expo 2021. The three-day exhibition starting Nov. 5 at l he Meydan Dubai hotel included more than 500 artists from more than 170 countries.
Yellow Bird was selected to represent the United States and its Indigenous peoples at the exhibit.
“It was a great, a great honor for me to represent both my country and my people”, says Yellow Bird who presents his work under his spiritual name “Black Pinto Horse.”
Yellow Bird grew up in White Shield. Her graduate studies included attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Minot State University. He lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where he owns and operates Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts.
Organized by curator Aurela Cuku, founder of the Artissima art agency in Dubai, the Dubai Art Expo is dedicated to celebrating and encouraging appreciation for the world’s arts, culture and heritage.
“Ms. Cuku started collecting my work several years ago when I attended a month-long artist residency in Abu Dhabi,” said the Yellow Bird. This city is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai has become the commercial, tourist and cultural center.
For the Dubai event, Yellow Bird decided to create a special work of art that specifically spoke about the spirit of peace and conservation shared by the indigenous peoples of North America and the Arab world. Painted in his contemporary Native American / Expressionist style inspired by 19th century ledger art created by the Great Plains tribes displaced from their homelands, 24×34 inch oil on canvas titled “The journey, A gathering of nations” presents in its four quadrants an Arabian oryx, a species of white antelope brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to the efforts of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; the American bison, sacred to the Amerindian peoples; an Indian lodge, with a riding warrior, most appropriate for the artist, a black pinto horse; and the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, named after the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, above which flies a golden falcon, the nation’s national bird.
“My goal in painting” Yellow Bird explains, “Was to express the emotional bonds that exist between two distant peoples who share a dedication and honor to preserving their environment. “
At the grand opening reception at the Meydan Hotel, Yellow Bird, dressed in tribal costume. unveiled his painting to the dignitaries present and to the press. He then shared a traditional story of an encounter between a buffalo and a porcupine, and its tragic end for the larger creature.
“It’s a lesson for life on the importance of building relationships, but also of being careful with who you bring into your life”, said the Yellow Bird.
Yellow Bird followed this story with a song he composed for the Native Flute in celebration of his journey.
Yellow Bird’s painting is now on display at Artissima Gallery in Dubai, awaiting one of its passionate international collectors. Meanwhile, Yellow Bird has already been invited to take part in next year’s major international art exhibition, which is set to take place in Italy in November 2022.