An Exhibit of Diversity, Community, Humanity and Environment

N Scott Momaday

3' x 4' Acrylic on Canvas "Scott Momaday 'Keeper of the Flame'" 

© Nova Starling 2012


N Scott Momaday 

"Keeper of the Flame"

Artist's Comment

Scott was called the "Keeper of the Flame" in the PBS series "The West". I chose to use that concept as one of the metaphors in my painting with the flame representing Native American culture.

Scott's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is titled, House Made of Dawn. The colors of the Eagle nebula suggest daybreak. The sense of infinite space in the background is a metaphor for possibility to create a better future for mankind.

Of the other imagery, the eagle is a symbol of personal power, wisdom and freedom.The long separation in the gasses of the Eagle nebula suggests an entry way between two dimensions or in this case perhaps cultures. The bear represents the spirit of the wilderness. She is the protector and symbol of courage and strength. In Scott's book, The Ancient Child, the bear symbolized human-animal relations and transformation. Here the bear emerges from Scott's chest or the deepest part of his being and moves forward with his arm.

On dogs, Scott says, "The Indian feels that he is related to the animal world. That all living things are related." The relationship between man and dog goes back a long time. In the Kiowa oral tradition, one of the ways to indicate time long past, is to say, "Well, this happened when dogs could talk." The dog is a loyal guardian and looked upon as a messenger between the Great Spirit and humans. Native American stories of dogs suggest that if they are properly treated, blessings will follow.


Inspiration for the painting's background was from the Hubble site, the Eagle Nebula.


The Eagle Nebula, also known as the Star Queen Nebula, is a star formaing region located in the constellation Serpens.

Take a closer look

Click on the Magnifying Glass


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