New Mexico Artist Brings "Peace and Loyalty to Olympics-Julie Ann Stephens (AP)

Article excerpt

Albuquerque, N.M. With the haunting images of September 11 terrorist attacks still fresh in his mind, New Mexico artist John Nieto was starting a new job: creating a painting for the Olympics. Nieto sought to depict positive ideas of peace and loyalty-words that later became the title of a portrait commissioned for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games. When he got the second call from the Olympiad committee, asking for his reaction to the tragedy, Nieto said he knows exactly what to do.

"The committee asked me if I could represent the ideas of peace and loyalty. Immediately, I thought of an Indian chief, symbolizing the power of a culture ... It wasn't hard for me to find vehicles to represent this," he said. "Everybody was really immersed in the emotional reaction to that event, as was I. It was just in the air." "Peace and Loyalty" depicts a wolf at the feet of an American Indian chief who is wearing a war bonnet and holding an eagle feather. The feather is a detail Nieto calls "the most symbolic part."

Not wanting to use images of building, American flags or anything else "corny," Nieto said the eagle feather is a universal symbol of strong values; the wolf represents the relationship between humans and canines, and the loyalty associated with the kinship. …

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