Count paintings were made by the Plains Indians such as the Cheyenne.
These history paintings on buffalo robes used pictographs representing
significant events in lieu of a written language. As these events were
recorded in the dead of winter hence they were called Winter Count paintings.
The Box and Border design featured here was once painted on the backs
of Cheyenne buffalo robes worn in cold weather. Here they are painted
in all natural pigment like the originals. Ringsby has taken this tradition
and reworked it combining images from Palestine as he wishes to forge
a parallel between the histories of these oppressed native peoples. The
images used in Ringsby’s Winter Count paintings were either sent
to him by friends in the peace movement in the Occupied Territories or
from the UN. The text was found by the artist in the course of his exhaustive
research preparations for “The Indian Wars-Palestine.”
Full rawhide skins have been impregnated with video and photographic images
of atrocities committed in the Occupied Territories and Israel. The historical
allusion is to the buffalo hide painting of the Plains Indians that artistically
documented their battles. Neither people had a voice in the media; both
watched helplessly as their cultures were leveled. The world was not moved
by the plight of the Indian nor of the Palestinians until it was too late.