Grizzly Bear Painting with a Message
This Grizzly Bear painting commemorates the Bears who once roamed the Southwestern United States. It also captures my desire to restore ecosystems by prioritizing native species over the destructive practices of humanity.
The story of the Grizzly Bear throughout most of the Western United States is a sad one. In fact, the US government, just like they had done with the American Bison, actively pursued their eradication. Because ranchers saw the bear as a threat to their livestock, they believed it better to kill every last one of them. By 1931 the Grizzly went extinct in New Mexico. By 1935 the Grizzly went extinct in Arizona. And while Grizzlies were declared extinct in Colorado in 1953, it wasn’t until 1979 that the last known Grizzly was killed outside Pagosa Springs, near the border of New Mexico.
The Brown Bear has always been an integral part of indigenous cultures throughout the Southwest. This is evident in their arts, traditions, legends and ceremonies. The loss of the Grizzly was a loss of a cultural icon.
This painting is the dream of restoration, balance and coexistence. It delineates a vision of the Southwest that should and could exist if we reoriented our hearts and minds toward a healthier ecosystem.