Robert Redbird, iconic Native American artist, dies

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Redbird's art reflected his Kiowa culture

He came to represent Native American culture in the art world

CNN  — 

Robert Redbird, the iconic Native American artist, died early Saturday morning after an extended illness, his family confirmed.

He was 76.

An Oklahoman who was part of the Kiowa tribe, Redbird’s drawings and paintings showed the beauty and breadth of Native American culture from the vast bleakness of the Comanche in the snow to cultural symbols such as the eagle and pottery.

Redbird’s paintings depicting blanket-wrapped Southern Plains figures became part of his artistic identity and representative of modern Native American artwork.

His home state of Oklahoma declared “Robert Redbird Day” on June 7, 2003.

“Robert Redbird’s art is full of his conviction that Native American culture is a beautiful way of life and his art conveys his feeling for Kiowa tradition and ceremonies, for the spiritual in the culture of many tribes and for the world of nature,” wrote then-Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, in the text of the declaration.

His work, which is recognizable by his trademark signature with a feather and the word Kiowa, has been exhibited and collected around the world.

He leaves behind Joquetta, his wife of 55 years, and 15 children, many of whom are carrying on his work.