Adobe Gallery Blog
San Ildefonso Pueblo Painting of a Comanche Dance by Gilbert Atencio - C4084D
Gilbert Atencio (Wah Peen) was born in 1930 in Greeley, Colorado and died in April of 1995. He was the son of Isabel M. Montoya and the nephew of Maria Martinez. He was educated at San Ildefonso Day School and graduated from the Santa Fe Indian School in 1947. He served in the U.S. Marine Corp and lived most of his life in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Much of his inspiration for paintings came from stories his aunts told him about their lives. His style varied from the traditional "flat style" done early in his career, to abstract or semi-abstract paintings done in the 1980s. He was a medical and technical illustrator, too, working for Los Alamos National Laboratories.
Towards the end of his life Atencio said about his work: "I do my paintings both for myself and for other people, especially for people who enjoy Indians, their way of life, their ceremonies. The people who buy my paintings are that type of people. They know some history of the Pueblo Indians. I do it for myself and for them. For the non-Indians who buy my work, I do it so they will appreciate Indian art and understand the Pueblo Indians-for more understanding between non-Indians and Indian life. If they come into the pueblo and if they have a painting of a certain dance, they known that what I have painted is the old version, and what they are seeing now-even though the young girls have cut their hair-is still the same dance. And so, appreciate the dance. Have respect for the way." (Wyckoff, p. 66)
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