Paul Moore is a fifth-generation Oklahoman who has gained national and international recognition with his sculpture. He grew up on stories of his relatives taking part in Oklahoma’s major historical events, such as the Trail of Tears, the Chisholm Trail, and Oklahoma’s first Land Run.
His grandfather grew up next door to Quanah Parker, where Quanah’s youngest wife, Tonarcey, made him baby moccasins at his birth. Over the years, Quanah gave him many gifts including a bear claw necklace and horse hair rope. These stories, as well as a life-changing visit to the then Cowboy Hall of Fame when he was young, influenced and inspired his decision to become a sculptor.
Paul is in constant demand for portrait and monumental commissions, and in the past 39 years he sculpted more than 150 commissions. His work is in the U.S. Capitol Collection, the Brookgreen Gardens Collection, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Numerous municipal, corporate, private, and international institutions also have collected his work.
In addition, Paul has won numerous awards throughout his career including three Anne Marion Best of Show Awards, the Ray Swanson Memorial Award, three Gold Medals for Sculpture, and four Silver Medals for Sculpture in the CAA Annual Exhibition.
This comically titled piece has a serious side that influenced its creation. My father has been battling Parkinson for many years. He has handled this horrible disease with dignity and his amazingly well-known humor.
Many Native Americans relate the heron to longevity, so I sculpted an old man trying to hold on to the longevity of life while it’s pulling away from his desperate grasp. On the ground at his feet is a beaded animal amulet that holds his umbilical card which is made and given to him at birth. It has been torn from his neck during the struggle to signify the end of his life. The humorous title is in honor of the way my father handles all tough situations in his life, with levity.
This piece started out as a sculpture demonstration I did for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. I decided to turn the sculpture, I started, into an emotionally moving piece everyone can unfortunately relate to from time to time.
This playful piece is of a young Taos woman being caught up in a tug of war with an unruly dog and her blanket. Anyone that has owned a pup or adolescent dog has run into a situation or two just like this one.
Wuwuchim is one of the most sacred ceremonies of the Hopi people. It takes place at the beginning of their New Year in November. All roads are closed leading to the Hopi mesas and communities to prevent interference from the outside world. It is an important time for selection and initiation of the young people into the various societies that will influence them throughout the remainder of their lives. In the sculpture, two “Two Horn” priests are blessing the ground in front of the entrances of the kivas at the beginning of Wuwuchim with corn meal. Later the corn meal will be collected and spread on the pathways throughout the communities to bless the individuals that participate in this sacred event.
The priests of the Two Horn Society are some of the most sacred and powerful individuals in the Hopi community. They act as guards at the Wuwuchim ceremony, blessing and protecting the participating individuals. The ram horns they wear on their heads represent the knowledge, secrets, and remembered experiences of the four worlds (one and two were previous worlds, the third is the underworld, and the fourth is the present world). Ram horns attached to a basket headdress were originally used, but later horns were constructed of formed sticks covered by rawhide, such as in the sculpture, with tuffs of eagle down attached with pitch which is also attached to his body in two rows from the top of his head to his feet. The priests wear nothing but their headdress, a white dance kilt, and a large buckskin cape. No non-Hopi can understand the magic, power, and spirituality these men possess. It is said that they are the keepers of the balance of the stars, sun, sky, and moon. They are the protectors of human life and everything on earth. They are the intermediaries between the living and the dead.
The Green Corn Dance is held by many Native American Peoples throughout the United States. It is an annual ceremony held at the beginning of the corn harvest or ripening of the corn crop. Each community has its own significance and social structure to this spiritual event, but most ceremonies are for giving praise and thanksgiving to God for providing them with the food that sustains them throughout the year. They also are for purifications, restoring balance, and making of new beginnings.
The young dancer, in the sculpture, is wearing the traditional tableta (headdress) and clothing of the San Felipe pueblo that is worn during this special event.