Chester Medicine Crow with His Father’s Flag by James Bama was inspired by a personal visit from Chester Medicine Crow. James Bama writes that, “His visit to my home was a highlight of my early years in Wyoming. He was the first male Indian I ever painted. He was part yesterday and part today. Bama was also stone deaf so I was unable to tell him the way I wanted him to pose. He seemed to want to sit stiffly so that’s the way I painted him. I found it ironic that Indians often use the American flag as a motif in their arts and crafts despite the injustices done to them by the U.S. Army and government. Even so, this man was proud of his accomplishments as a Native American, both before and after the white man came.”
James Bama was born in 1926 and grew up in the Northeast. He followed his early interest in art through New York’s specialized High School of Music and Art and the Art Students League. As a professional, Bama has earned a reputation for several facets of his talent. He freelanced briefly before spending fifteen years at the respected Charles E. Cooper Studios—at the time, the country’s top firm of illustrators—and more freelancing followed.
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