Heaven and Earth

Dan Horsechief

Heaven and Earth emphasizes the duality of our lives on earth, explained artist Dan Horsechief. War and peace, sickness and health, winter and summer, all come into play in the painting. “Just realizing how one thing must balance out another in this world illustrates to us that there must be a place of perfection where there is no counter balancing, a place of life without death and darkness.”

Horsechief used a variety of symbolism in the piece and not just from his own Cherokee tribe. “I mix symbols and ideas to fit into the overriding truth,” he said. “We are all living under the same sky. It is one big blue print.” Many of the same symbols and designs are repeated in cultures across the globe. “I combine things to illustrate the existence of mankind.” The four directions are depicted through color. Blue for north, white for south, red is east and black is west. For the Cherokees, west represented death and darkness of being forcibly removed from their homeland with the red soil of Georgia.

“All of us born on this big earth miles and continents apart are on the same journey together, and that journey leads back to the place of perfection where we all come from. That is our true home and the place where our Creator is waiting to welcome us.”

Horsechief has been creating art professionally for more than 20 years. He holds an associate degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His commissioned pieces include large-scale bronze sculptures: Sequoyah, The Gift for Northeastern State University, Resurgence for the Cherokee Heritage Center and The Seeker for the Sequoyah High School. His work has been recognized with the Grand Award at the Cherokee Homecoming Show and at the Trail of Tears Art Show. His work has been exhibited in numerous state and national venues. Heaven and Earth was first exhibited in the Chickasaw Art Show in 2012 where it won honorable mention. It was purchased for the Judicial Center Collection.

Source: Personal interview, April 2013.