Wednesday 17 January 2018

Native American artist draws from Irish inspiration

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

WITH distance, comes perspective.

A Native American artist, Gary White Deer of the Choctaw Nation, has spent the past year living in Ireland as he worked on his latest collection of paintings.

"They are all done with brushes dipped in Irish waters," he said eloquently.

"Lots of people come to Ireland to try and capture the fog rolling in off the sea or the colours of the Burren. I kept painting my culture. I think Ireland was good for that for some reason."

Gary said some of the pieces are a political commentary, which he would not have painted had he been back home in Oklahoma.

"One of them shows a bunch of little Indian boarding school kids – I used to be one of those kids – and the school is like a prison. Maybe it's like what they say about some Irish writers, how they wrote better of Ireland from somewhere else," he suggested.

Gary was speaking at the Doorway Gallery on South Frederick Street in Dublin where the exhibition of 28 of his paintings finishes today.

Gary has also been penning his memoirs while in Ireland, which also detail the tale of the Choctaw Indians. The tribe originally lived in the southern US but from the 1830s onwards were removed by the American army and resettled in the middle of Oklahoma state.

And Gary may take a part in an Irish soap opera early next year.

While he was reluctant to name the show, as he has yet to sign a contract, Gary suggested the walk-on role could be filmed in February.

The exhibition of Gary's work will move to All Hallows College in the New Year. He can be contacted at

Irish Independent

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