OKLAHOMA CITY - Having been selected to sculpt the statue that will top the new State Capitol Dome, Five Tribes Master Artist Enoch Kelly Haney has now met with architects and engineers to finalize the dimensions of the sculpture.
"Obviously, there are the artistic, esthetic considerations involved, as well as the engineering and architectural demands regarding height and weight," noted Senator Haney.
Haney said it has been determined that the bronze sculpture will be 17 feet high, and weigh approximately 4 to 4 ½ tons.
The artist, who is a full blood Seminole-Creek Indian, has balanced his painting and sculpting with his work in the Oklahoma State Legislature since 1981. He has also served as Tribal Councilman and as Manager for the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.
Haney was one of six finalists for creating a sculpture to top the planned dome for the Capitol building. The entries were judged by numbers only.
"I am still overwhelmed at having been selected for this project. Oklahoma has been my family's home for generations, and it is a tremendous honor to be called upon to create this artwork for the Capitol," said Haney, who refused the $50 thousand commission that had been allocated for the artist chosen to sculpt the statue.
Haney said he has also been touched by the many phone calls and messages he's received from across the state since the announcement of his selection last week.
"People have told me how proud they are that a Native American image has been selected for the Capitol Dome. It is an important recognition of the role Native People have played in our state, which bears an Indian name," noted Haney. Oklahoma is Choctaw for Land of the Redman.
Haney's sculpture depicts a young Native American male holding a lance, point down, firmly in the ground.
"The image is of standing one's ground. I feel it embodies values shared by all Oklahomans, native or not. It represents the deep love of family and home we all share, and the desire to protect them," explained Haney.
State officials hope the dome and the sculpture will be completed by Statehood Day, November 16th, 2002.
The original plans for Oklahoma's State Capitol included a dome, but there were not enough funds for its completion. The $20 million for construction of the dome is a combination of state and privately donated funds. Officials say the final bronze statue will cost $250,000, to be raised privately.