Cecil Dick: Father of Cherokee Art

  • August 2019 - January 31, 2020
  • Location: Cherokee National History Museum
  • Cecil Dick: Father of Cherokee Art is an exhibit on Cherokee artist, Cecil Dick. Dick was born in Oklahoma in 1915 to a traditional Cherokee home. When he became an orphan, he was sent to boarding schools where he had to learn English. In 1932, the superintendent of his boarding school noticed Dick’s artistic abilities and arranged for him to attend the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The students in the program were taught to paint in the flat painting style popular with Plains Indian tribes; a two-dimensional foreground with an empty or plain background. Having grown up in a traditional Cherokee home, Dick knew all of the stories about animals and plants, so he chose to paint in his unique woodlands style with elaborate backgrounds. Cecil Dick painted and did illustrations up until his death in 1993. He is known as the father of Cherokee art.

This exhibit is on display in the temporary gallery at the Cherokee National History Museum. It includes exhibit panels with information on his life, original paintings, including a rare oil painting, and the silver Sequoyah Medal he received from Cherokee Nation in 1983.