Monday, December 20, 2010

Martha Berryhill Passes Away At 110

Three years ago I had the honor and privilege to paint a portrait of then 107 year old Creek Indian Martha Berryhill. At the time I was preparing for a solo exhibition here in Okmulgee. The name of the show was "Our Town, Our Land, Our People" it included local landscapes, a doctor, a judge, a state representative, lots of familiar people and places that make this town uniquely ours. Can you imagine everything this woman experienced in her life, the wars, the depression, TV, radio, the births and deaths of those she loved. I was so moved when I met her, I studied the lines on hers face the age in her hands and the soulfulness of her eyes. I went to her home and photographed her outside wearing her traditional dress. While I was taking pictures she began to pray out loud, while I couldn't understand much she was saying I couldn't help but feel like this is one of those moments in life where you never want to forget, and I won't. I donated this portrait to the Creek Council House Museum.

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