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medicine wheel concept

Iisaxpuatahchee Isawaxaawuua Annashisee

Big Horn Medicine Wheel

All that is, is but a reflection of understanding.

Color surrounds and envelopes not only the body, but the

psyche & spirit.

Experience in memory or imagination can be defined by such

encompassing hue.

Not merely an illusion.

Imagine the course of a full day, as the Sun comes leaning

over the eastern horizon, a new day is born, bringing new

life and promise for another moon gently leading our eyes

to rest.

Times of prayer have been dictated by the paths of the

celestials across the sky, and across history. Civilizations

and philosophies built upon regard for the higher.

28 spokes. 28 colors. 7 cairns. 7 stars. 4 directions. 4 seasons.

1 medicine wheel. 1 feather. Millenia of prayers.

Iisaxpuatahchee Isawaxaawuua Annashisee

This place has been said to have been constructed by those

ancient ones.

Since time immemorial, beings have come to connect via

ethereal and ever inter-twining planes rooted in deep

cultural philosophy.

Those beings from before laid prayers plus tears for those

to come. As do we.

We feel. We see. We experience.

Spiritual, yet measurable and undeniably empowering.

This exists as an innate entity birthed from before here was


Our connections in relation to the celestials bodies are

evermore present and pertinent as our society evolves.

As our new ways continue, these sacred places adhering

physical with meta-physical realms are exponentially

whittled into history.

All that is, is but a reflection of understanding.

My "Medicine Wheel Concept" (based on the Big Horn Mountains Medicine Wheel) installation at the STAPLETON GALLERY in 2017 was one of the most involved projects I've ever tasked myself in creating. I am still so honored that my good friend Mr. Jeremiah Young so graciously allowed me the space, time, and resource of the raw installation space.

All rocks & colors,(except for the large 4000lb central boulder) sourced from the Big Horn Mountains. Before using all natural materials, I gave offerings, prayers and asked cultural leaders permissions in creating this work.

My beautiful partner Malisha Tso, our sons and I handpicked each rock from the mountain. Upon delivery to the gallery of the smaller rocks, we carried them individually by hand to the second floor. Then chose paint colors representative of the Mountain, like flowers, earth, snow, rock, and wildlife from our own photography.

 Just getting the boulder to the second floor was a team effort, from some more good friends like Judd Thompson & Tyrel Johnson. We first we had to stop traffic, then required a flat-bed delivery truck + skid steer, then we needed a telehandler crane loader vehicle to lift the boulder to the second floor. Then Jeremiah's team removed the balcony retaining wall and entryway door, and then we used a pallet-jack cart with a multi-ton capacity to wheel it in the gallery. The boulder was so heavy, the wheels were breaking through the 3/4" OSB floor, so we layed down an additional track of 3/4" inch OSB and rolled the pallet jack on thick steel bars, it turns out this method of rolling is very efficient for moving heavy objects, like rocks. In the end, it was 6- 7 burly men vs. 1 boulder 😏 the boulder won, it is still in the back room of the gallery.

The 4000lb boulder in the center was painted with a paint I made from the drill tailings of the suspended rocks anchor points. On top of the central rock, as you can see in the video is a Spotted Eagle feather, appearing to float. It represents prayer and our connections to the spiritual world through nature and geographical-based religion.

Each colored rock was suspended 4ft from the floor first by 80lb test spider-wire(not strong enough) from the 4 sacred directions. The colored rocks, after falling the first time, I switched to spider wire to 100lb test, which failed during the opening night with the touch of a viewers sunglasses. In this, all rocks but one fell to the ground. With each fall, I marked the site with the corresponding paint color as part of the process and rehung with 110lb test spider wire, which held all but the 2 rocks on the floor in the video. With the design, if a line breaks, the rocks always follow physics and fall inward, luckily.

Around the walls of the installation is a series of posts, a long rope and red cloths to represent prayer rags and offerings at the actual site in the Big Horn Mountains. The posts are contemporary intrusions at the site meant to protect the cultural site, with a sign reading "walk left".

Upon entering the space, one would smell and hear sounds of the Mountain. I distilled oils from the bear root, juniper, lyken, & indian paintbrush, then placed them into an oil diffuser for scent. I then composed an audio track from the area surrounding the medicine wheel, and played it for ambiance.

During the opening, I asked a known cultural leader to bless all those who've attended and experienced the installation. I am honored to have been provided the ability, assistance, and opportunity in creating this work, which will eventually be shown again down the road.

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