Gilcrease Museum is temporarily closed for construction.

Get the Full Story

Prayer to the Sun / Parker Boyiddle


Sculptor, muralist, and painter Parker Boyiddle Jr. was educated by artists such as Allan C. Houser (1914–1944) and Fritz Scholder (1937–2005) at the Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, New Mexico). He is recognized for his use of symbolism to portray oral histories and lore. In this work, a Kiowa man offers a prayer to the sun. Boyiddle’s two-dimensional paintings frequently reference three-dimensional sculptural techniques, seen here in the subject’s dynamic pose as well as the transitions between light and shadow, especially in the folds of the cloak. This narrative painting underlines the relationships between active prayer, horse traditions, and the American bison within Indigenous Plains cultures.

The shape and cut of his moccasins, the shape and style of his breechcloth, the hair-pipe breastplate, and the adorned staff are markers of the man’s identity. The American Paint Horse in the background and the bison in the center symbolize compelling historical and ongoing interconnections between the rise and fall of Indigenous Plains horse cultures, as well as the historic extermination of bison ecologies by the U.S. federal government beginning in the mid-1800s.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

You may be interested in...

Prayer to the Sun
Parker Boyiddle (Artist)
Native American; Kiowa, Delaware
late 20th century
acrylic on canvas
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of Donald Firth Brown Jr.
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
TL 1998.136.1; 0127.2505; TL1998.136.1; 35373
Not On View

Our Online Collections site is a work in progress. If you have information about this item that may be of assistance, please contact us.