ADA, OK - Two art pieces were unveiled Nov. 17 during a ceremony
honoring the late Chickasaw legislator Dean McManus.
artist Dustin Mater unveiled his commissioned art piece "The
Council" Nov. 17 at the Chickasaw Legislative building
in Ada. Mr. Mater honored late legislator Dean McManus in
Chickasaw artists Dustin Mater and Brent Greenwood unveiled
their commissioned art pieces to the Chickasaw legislature. Mrs.
McManus was herself memorialized in one of the works.
The artists had been commissioned by the Legislature earlier
this year to create separate triptychs (set of three works) to hang
in the Legislative chambers.
Both pieces are steeped in Chickasaw history, symbols and culture,
and tell a unique story about the Chickasaw Nation.
Mr. Mater created The Council. The work painstakingly
details 1500s tribal leaders, dressed in period regalia and debating
the fate of Hernando de Soto and his men.
Historically, the council would have been men around this
time, and women would have been regulated to the background, Mr.
But, I wanted to acknowledge the current sitting of the
(Chickasaw) legislator, with one extra woman in the painting to
symbolize the late, great Dean McManus.
Mr. Mater explained when he presented the concept design, Mrs.
McManus remarked about the hairstyle of one of the women.
She asked, so it wasnt just space princesses
and Hopi women, but also us that had that hair style,?
Mr. Mater said.
Mrs. McManus also observed the ceremonial mace in the painting,
and remarked the Legislature once used a mace to indicate who had
the floor during sessions.
It was an honor to be a part of her last days and to make
her laugh, Mr. Mater said. Thank you again for this
elements and Chickasaw motifs are used throughout Chickasaw
artist Brent Greenwoods three commissioned art pieces.
The panels were unveiled in the Chickasaw Legislative building
Mr. Greenwood said the mission of his three panel art piece
was to demonstrate the qualities the government has bestowed
upon our people, with leadership and all those things that helped
bring us to where we are today. My piece embodies all those elements
of our culture. The tradition of antiquity and those influences
we use today.
The three pieces, which flow together but also serve as stand-alone
paintings, include a nod to Chickasaw ceremonies as well as the
Chickasaw Legislature from Indian Territory. The center panel reflects
an antiquity focus on Chickasaw leaders to honor the lawmakers.
Mr. Greenwood incorporated earth elements and Chickasaw motif
throughout the paintings. Chevron designs, influenced by the design
in finger-woven belts, a swan feather cape, sun circles and clouds
painted to represent mound-builders are all featured.
Detailing the work and his creative process, Mr. Greenwood said,
I became fully engaged. I wanted something that would speak
toward our Chickasaw people and that would be around a lot longer
than we are, to inspire others to share the addition of the voices
of our people.
Mrs. McManus died in March 2017 while serving as a Chickasaw
Legislator. She had served in the office since 1999. Prior to her
legislative service, Mrs. McManus worked as a trainer and in other
capacities at the tribe. She started her career with the tribe in
The artwork now hangs in the Chickasaw Nation Legislative Building,
801 N. Mississippi in Ada.
Mater - Chickasaw Visual Artist
By exploring the modern world through the lens of a native
artist, my work connects the past to the future.
I use a variety of materials to tell my stories, never shying away
from trying new mediums but in each work there is ornate consistent
I am a proud member of the Chickasaw and Ponca Nations of Oklahoma.
I was born November 27, 1971 in Midwest City, Oklahoma. I've been
creating art ever since I could remember. I am primarily an acrylics
and mixed media artist. I try to create depth and emotion in my
work by the various layers of paint, washes, drips and splatters
that I apply to the canvas.