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Kansas Cultural Icons - January 18, 2019

Keeper of the Plains in Wichita (Photo by J. Schafer)

Q: The Keeper of the Plains is a 44-foot tall sculpture that stands at the confluence of the Arkansas (ar-KAN-zes) and Little Arkansas (ar-KAN-zes) Rivers in Wichita. What's the name of the Native American artist who created it?
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A: Blackbear Bosin or Francis (Blackbear) Bosin

Designed and built by the late Kiowa-Comanche artist Francis (Blackbear) Bosin, the Keeper of the Plains is a 44-foot tall steel sculpture that stands at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers in Wichita. At the base of the sculpture is a depiction of the Circle of Life, which contains four elements: Water, Fire, Air, Earth. This site is a sacred place to Native Americans and was home to the Wichita tribe for many years. Although the "Keeper of the Plains" is his most widely recognized work, Bosin expressed himself primarily through his paintings.

Almost entirely self-taught, Bosin became internationally recognized for his vivid watercolors and acrylics. He was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma, in 1921 and came to his adopted city of Wichita in 1940. In Wichita, he began a career working for Western Lithograph and as an illustrator for Boeing Aircraft. He died in 1980 at the age of 59.

Fun factoid: Among Bosin's works is the insignia used by the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant.
 
Read more about the Keeper of the Plains and see more photographs. 

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