the first born son
2009, oil, 44"h x 72"w
The artist Ned Jacob said "Artistic alchemy is the ingredient that all true "art" has in common. It is the power to transform something from everyday experience into something meaningful and precious through excellence." In this painting, Zhuo took a nostalgic look at a point in the daily life of a Crow Indian encampment and gilt it in excellence, again displaying his mastery as a visual symphonist.
The narrative focuses on a new mother presenting her month-old baby boy to his father. Customarily, during the first month after the birth, she would have lived with own mother. Her sister welcomes her return, holding an umbilical cord amulet which will be attached to the infant's cradleboard as a special protective fetish.
Since both mother and child have survived the first crucial month, mother is now able to wear new clothes, and the baby is fitted in a new cradleboard. A noted warrior and friend of the father, who came to give the child its first name, now mentors a boy in the art of arrow making. Women and girls talk and work together sharing the best course for softening buckskin, as various other activities play out among the lodges around them. Noteworthy are the two pets in this idyllic scene, puppy and antelope fawn, which emphasize the close familial theme of this artfully melodious painting.