David Chethlahe Paladin’s visionary art contains ancient and archetypal symbolism less centered in his Navajo cultural roots, but more from a universal source of mystical knowledge. It is as if a tribal shaman, freed from the boundaries of a limited belief system and its familiar symbols suddenly was to become aware of a cosmic knowledge so powerful as to speak to the universal experience of humankind.
David Paladin was loved and respected by those who collected his art and those who knew him as a multi-faceted compassionate man. About the Artist drop down tabs contain collectors’ comments and a tribute to the artist; comments about the art by an art critic; and David’s comments about his art. Each topic is liberally sprinkled with David’s visionary art.
The Shamanic tab includes stories from David about a Tarahumara vision drum, and the Tarahumara shamanic initiation vision he experienced. David preferred to paint, rather than write so these stories are a glimpse into his personally written recollections. Also, there is a report by a biofeedback professional about David’s brain waves while he created a shamanic painting, characterized by the author as “medical clairvoyance.”
Some of David’s visionary art encompassed mythology from the natives he encountered in his early world travels, some is shamanic in origin, and some has its origins in early human mythology. The Art Stories tab provides explanations to help the viewer relate to the identified images in the drop down tab.
The Scrapbook tab contains memories about times shared with friends, illustrated with my personal photographs, and sometimes my memories alone. This seemed to be an appropriate place to post a portrait of David as a child, and the earliest drawing from his childhood that I possess, collected from his foster mother.
Since I don’t have videos of David, the next best thing is audio recordings. I believe that it’s important to hear what David sounded like to deepen your sense of who he was and what he believed in. Towards that end I’ve included a sermon, “Reason vs. Spirituality” that David delivered to the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque about 1983.
David had the ability to channel a variety of identities who shared their wisdom with us. The Ximu audio is remarkable because its source is a crystal consciousness. It was equally remarkable that David was able to allow it to speak through him about the divisive nature of humankind.
It’s difficult to summarize David’s life and his art in any simple way. After completing my studies in anthropology and art history at UC Santa Barbara I met and married him, sharing the last 15 years of his life (1969-1984) with him as his lover, friend and companion. What an adventure it turned out to be! If you’d care to share your comments, thoughts or questions I look forward to knowing them.
May Beauty surround you,