My name is Ryan Lee Smith and I am a native American painter of Cherokee and Choctaw decent. The images depicted on this site cover a broad range of representation and intuitive native abstracts. I have been pressed many times as to what the correlation between my heritage and my work is, and I have for many years stood strong and refused to voice that correlation. However after years of thought and years of cultural immersion, I know now what is behind this drive to paint.
I am representing the collective pride of Native people. The pride I have experienced first-hand. The communal aspect of Natives helping Natives, working together for the health and future of the community. The Cherokee word for this selflessness and willingness to help each other is pronounced ‘Ga-Du-Gi’. This is a very powerful word in the Cherokee language and an even more powerful act when it is experienced personally.
I have always said there is a drumbeat within all Native peoples compelling them to remain resilient and proud. I want to capture this pure and innate pride. These paintings are meant to represent my feelings not only toward Native pride, but also to encompass the true character of the Native American.