With paintings in museums and personal collections, Sheldon won Best of Show at the Santa Fe Indian Market, as well as having a painting chosen for the official poster, in the same year. He is a major name in contemporary art, whether Native or not.
The striking images he paints and sculpts are his artistic visions of the supernatural and sacred beings from Navajo stories that he heard as a child. He keeps his images non-specific in order to maintain the mystery inherent in Navajo sacred lore. This strikingly complex figure is one we just acquired. It has elements of the sky, water, and the sun, that combine to grow corn. Corn represents good luck, good health, happiness, and prosperity.
Richly complex in detail, texture, dimensionality, and color, the figure is dominated by the immense headdress, or tablita. Red refers to the earth and blue to both water and the sky. The accents of golden yellow represent the sun. All together, these elements in balance encourage the growth of corn and other crops. Feathers are symbolized by the fan shape in the center which is dotted in both blue and red. These represent raindrops. Feathers are symbols for prayers – in this case for a bountiful harvest and the good health, happiness, and prosperity that ensues.
There are intricate details all throughout this figure: the tablita is decorated with drops of rain in many colors as well as s-shaped lines at the bottom that refer to rivers. One carved out circle is blue, the other red – sky and earth, night and day too. In the center of the sculpted feather fan a double cross and long line represents water as well. Accents of gold bring in the sun.
Gold and blue predominate in the head with red accents, while the chest is incised with the same crossed water line. This also suggests a dragonfly which flies above waterways. A three-dimensional kilt projects from the body, decorated with rainbow stripes. It is centered with a carved abstraction of a cornstalk, the wished-for product of sun and water. Sun-yellow arms each hold a spray of multicolored, natural parrot feathers, reinforcing the prayers for a good crop. The vibrant hues are similar to the colors used throughout the sculpture, especially in the kilt and the patterns of the sashes on either side of the kilt.
Permanently attached to a sturdy, painted metal base, this brilliant decorative sculpture is all set to adorn your mantel, shelf, or niche. A fabulous new piece by this major artist.