Blue skies of Montana

Mahi kāinga i te rā was to allow a waiata to inspire what we paint. Blue skies of Montana by Ronnie Milsap was my waiata. Ronnie is native to North Carolina in America, he was born blind which his whānau believed was because of a sin, so his mother left him to his grandparents in the Smokey mountains. His grandparents believed he would have a better future with the blind school so handed him over and that is where his musical talents were discovered. The lyrics of Blue skies of Montana are direct, acknowledging the lands that were taken from the native americans, the battles that were fought and the treaty of promises that the white man did not abide by. I immersed myself in the song playing it on loop for most of the day. I thought of the common thread of this type of colonisation across the world and here in Aotearoa, it was as if the song could have been sung by any indigenous person. I started to paint thinking of the colours sung; Blue skies, Hungry for the yellow gold, Wearing a red bandana, I see the smoke. I named the unconventional methods I used.


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