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Preparation for the Ribbon Dance / Solomon McCombs


The prolific painter Solomon McCombs (Muscogee) graduated from Bacone College (Muskogee, Oklahoma), where he studied Indigenous art under the direction of Acee Blue Eagle. McCombs’s casein on paper Preparation for the Ribbon Dance centers on a Muscogee woman who is attended by two matriarchs as they prepare for a Muscogee ceremony.

This Flatstyle painting is a brilliantly colored narrative, and the artist has distinguished the carefully articulated background and setting with an almost monochromatic blue and gray palette. In the center, the three women are engaged in a vibrant and dramatic dance amidst swirling deep red and golden yellow ribbons. Here we see an intimate and tender scene that is also a representation of material culture in practice. McCombs gives the scene depth and dimension through his addition of supplemental background details while still maintaining Flatstyle painting principles. These details give the place a specificity and further enrich the painting’s context and meaning.

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

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Preparation for the Ribbon Dance
Solomon McCombs (Used by)
Native American; Muscogee (Creek)
tempera on mat board
Landscape; single-sided 1.351-1.361mm grey, multilayered paper, mat board.
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of Margarita McCombs
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
1982; 0227.1674; 29518
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