Thurman Horse

Thurman Horse   
Canupa Nakiciniji - Protects the Pipe

Thurman Horse, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, was born January 12, 1962 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. From a family of nine, he fondly remembers watching his father doing artwork at the kitchen table and later learning carpentry from his father. He learned how to break horses, as well as sew his own clothes and even learned how to cook.  Horse feels fortunate to have come from an artistic and sharing family, where pride in workmanship and positive reinforcement were instilled throughout his childhood. His artistic resume actually began in 1977, when he was a fifteen year old student at Porcupine Day school and gained recognition as Artist of the Year. In 1978, he won first place at the Intermountain Tribal Arts Festival, Brigham City, Utah. In 1984, he won first place in the Martin Luther King Art Contest. He earned his General Education diploma from Box Elder Job Corps, Nemo, South Dakota, in 1982.

Horse has supported his family through various forms of employment: As a gardener, horticulture designer, carpenter, electrician, plumber and as a working artist designing interior and exterior murals. A turning point for Horse occurred in 1989, when he decided to pursue his art work full time. He received a commission from the Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota for two watercolor originals, which were later reproduced as posters commemorating the 1992 graduating class.

Aesthetically, Horse views the complex world in colors, line and design. The artistic urge is one of  his earliest recollections. Before he started school, Horse remembers he would take a picture from a book or catalogue, place it on a window, and etch its likeness in the frost. In kindergarten, he loved to draw animals, but would always come back to his favorite subject, the human form. Native arts traditions oversee his anatomically correct animal and human subjects in challenging studies and compositions. Also evident in his work is influence by popular contemporary artist  including T.C. Cannon, King Kuka and Kevin Red Star.

Thurman is a listed artist in The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters by Patrick D. Lester, University of Oklahoma Press; September, 1995. He has been in several art shows and has sold his paintings in Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver, British Columbia, Africa, Holland, Switzerland, Scotland, England and states including Utah, Iowa, Texas, California and Alaska. In 1991, he was interviewed for the documentary “Stories of the Horse” and the PBS distributed documentary “Homeland” in 2000.

Horse also acted in the films “Lakota Women” in 1993 and “Hidalgo” in 2004 as a Ghost Dancer and singer of traditional Lakota songs. He was also involved with the limited series “Into the West” in 2005 as a Lakota Advisor. His paintings and his translation of the Lakota language have been studied at Black Hills State University of South Dakota.