Noted for paintings and sculpture, but especially for his sculptural fetish bears, Mark grew up surrounded by the art of his 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.
He tries to maintain historical customs, practices, and rituals through his traditional stone carving methods.
These are combined with the intricate and ancient skill of creating medicine bundles, which convey the animal’s powers to the owner and the spirits.
When a piece is completed, the artist says a prayer over it.
This nicely formed bear is of a light-colored limestone, smoothed, but not polished.
Bears are the top of the animal food chain and are honored by almost all tribes for their protective strength, and survival and hunting abilities.
The bear’s simplicity is contrasted with the exuberant eruption of natural parrot and pheasant feathers that decorates its back.
Bright yellow and green parrot feathers are a handsome foil for the dark, but iridescent, pheasant feathers.
Further contrast is found in the difference in the shapes of the feathers: long and narrow for the parrot; squared-off and shorter for the pheasant.
Each feather is individually tied and attached, a notable skill when considering the large hands of the 6-foot-plus artist.
The feathers are attached to a length of deerskin, painted with turquoise stripes.
Chunks of turquoise, gorgeously iridescent abalone shell and a beautifully figured slice of exotic wood are also part of the medicine bundle.
The medicine bundle is meant to convey the protective powers of the bear, to the owner.
This unique fetish sculpture is a triumph of talent, tradition, and artistic skill, by an internationally collected, prize-winning artist.
Enjoy its beauty, as it protects your household.