Ledger Art is a form of Native American narrative painting that began in the 1860's and continues to this day. The Plains Indians traditionally painted their stories on animal hides using plant and mineral based pigments with brushes made from bones and sticks. Hunting scenes, horse raids, courtship scenes, and dreams and visions were recorded by the men on teepees, clothing and shields. But in the second half of the 19th century the US government eradicated the buffalo herds and forced the Plains Indians onto reservations. The men began drawing and painting on paper from accounting ledgers obtained from army forts, traders, and government agents. They used whatever tools were available, mostly pencils and crayons, occasionally water colors.
I find works of Ledger Art to be exquisite in their simplicity, honesty and detail. I am particularly drawn to the horses in Ledger Art and chose that form as the basis for my collage series. There is both beauty and loss in this choice. The horse is a strong, magnificent and beautiful animal. It was central to the lives of the Plains Indian tribes. Then that way of life was taken from them.