Artist Oscar Howe has tried to translate human emotions or expression into pictorial forms through his paintings. Indian traditions are depicted in modern aesthetic painting style. The subject matter for the paintings is derived from Dakota traditions.
The postures of the human figures are more important than the background in marking the occasion, celebration or situation. Dance was a popular tradition after any important moment. Mixed dances were arranged to foster unity and harmony. The costumes or apparels worn by the humans in any painting are also special. Most of them resemble a spread out paper fan . The paintings are marked by bright colour, dynamic motion and pristine line.
The artist has brilliantly used luminosity and darkness alternately to communicate his thoughts. For instance in the Dakota medicine man the flash effect is to create a fantasy or miraculous effect related to scientific inventions. Folded or plaited areas of the dresses have been clearly and ornately described. This is a very rare style which adds to the painting’s beauty. The specimens bring the observer closer to the ancient customs. The contemporary people probably honored their instruments, arms greatly. Shadow effect has been used predominantly.
The music items of Ohama Indian music are also a representation of the regional culture. Arranged in a coordinated fashion the songs are sung in local dialect. More importance is given to expressions and emotions than the words used. The singer is trying to encourage or elevate the spirit of the people collected during the gathering. Such compositions probably follow ceremonies like religious festivals or victories in battles where people collect in large numbers.
The usage of instruments like drums forms an important part of the composition as it adds to the morale boosting factor besides the ethnic values of the people. Set in a tribal background these music items help us visualize the culture and unity of our ancestors. The music works go very well in synchronization with Oscar Howe’s paintings where he has painted groups of people celebrating battle victories through songs and dances.