Archie Blackowl (Cheyenne) was born and raised in Oklahoma. When he was seven years old, the U.S. government placed him in an Indian boarding school. “When I was seven years old, they took me to this damn Indian school, and we had to stand in line, and they cut my hair off. They just cut my braids off and threw them into a box with all the other children’s braids. It was hard being an Indian in them days.”
He studied painting under the Swedish muralist Olle Nordmark. His painting style is indicative of the flat studio-style encouraged by Dorothy Dunn and the subject matter of the Oklahoma-centric Bacone Style. Blackowl was active in the juried Philbrook Indian Annual.
Blackowl’s attention to detail and ability to recreate the supple textures of depicted garments set him apart from his contemporaries. He painted this Pipe Dance series late in his illustrious career, four years before his death in 1992 at 81.
Archie Blackowl’s works are included in the permanent collections of many public institutions, including the Gilcrease Museum, Philbrook Museum, and the Sequoyah Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.