From the Artist - Vanessa Bowen:
Black God has a crescent moon on his forehead,
a full moon for a mouth,
the Pleiades on his temple
and he wears a buckskin mask covered in
sacred charcoal with white paint.
Black God was busy meticulously placing the constellations when Coyote came along. In the moment of impatience, coyote threw a blanket of stars into the sky forming the Milky Way. It was Black God, also known as the Fire God, who lit the stars. He did not light the stars that Coyote flung into the sky. This explains why some stars are dimmer than others. In another version of the story, it is said that Black God created the Milky Way on purpose. The Navajo believe the Milky Way is a pathway for spirits to travel between heaven and earth. Each star is a little footprint. The artist room by Vanessa Bowen depicts the story of Coyote and the creation of the Milky Way.
Schultz, Teresa. “Mask of Black God: The Pleiades in Navajo Cosmology.”Journal of College Science Teaching 35.2 (2005): 30. EBSCOhost Education Source. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
When approaching a canvas, I often paint my personal experiences. Selecting the colors and subject carefully to illustrate a moment in my life that has moved or assisted in my ever-evolving self.
About Vanessa Bowen:
Vanessa Bowen (Diné) is a Native American multi-faceted artist, with skills ranging from pushing paint to pixel manipulation. In 2016, she became well-known for producing “Make America Native Again” hats as a way of starting conversation about the problematic history behind Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan — “Make America Great Again” — and to raise awareness for marginalized Indigenous peoples in the U.S. Bowen continues to work out of her studio located in Albuquerque, NM for her design firm Bowen Creative. She derives her support and encouragement from her husband and inspiration and motivation from her two small children.