Contemporary Prayer Stick Sculpture with Fetish

Mark Swazo-Hinds


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This artist is magisterial in talent, as well as height, and is noted for paintings and sculpture, but especially for his sculptural fetishes.

Mark grew up surrounded by the art of his adopted father, acclaimed painter Patrick Swazo-Hinds.

While still in his teens, Mark began to develop his widely acclaimed artistic path of carving award-winning stone fetishes, and more recently, abstract fetish pieces, as here.

He tries to maintain historical customs, practices and rituals through his traditional methods.

Although greatly influenced by traditional rituals and ceremonies, he creates contemporary sculptures to be enjoyed in our time.

This contemporary prayer stick incorporates an alabaster bear fetish, along with turquoise chunks, mother of pearl, and various natural shells.

Bears are revered for their protective strength and hunting success.

Bear fetish, shells, feathers and turquoise all are tied to a large wooden stick, smoothly finished, which is embedded in a square of natural sandstone.

The intricate and ancient skill of creating medicine bundles, which convey the animal’s powers to the owner and the spirits, is an essential part of the piece.

The explosive array of natural parrot and pheasant feathers adds color, width and texture to the vertical stick.

Bleached deerskin ties all the elements together, in an exuberant bouquet.

It is entirely fashioned by hand – the large, but dextrous hands of the six foot, four inch artist.

When a piece is completed, he blesses it, in the traditional way of his Pueblo.

This unique piece exhibits a powerful, and unique presence, and is an example of talent, tradition, and artistic skill, by an internationally collected, prize-winning artist.

Whether revered as a prayer stick, or admired as a contemporary work of art, it is an outstanding work of art.


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