Yurok Blood by Rachel Williams


This is a portrait of Cooper. He grew up in my neighborhood and I didn't know he had Native American ancestry until I saw him wearing braids in a social media post. His great grandmother is from the Yurok Indian Tribe from the American Northwest and was a very strong and noble woman. He has Yurok blood flowing through his veins and said that learning about his Yurok ancestry has been very grounding for him. It felt natural for him to grow his hair long and wear it in braids to honor that ancestry. When I asked him if I could paint him he was flattered and I chose a setting with rustic barns and old wood as a backdrop. I noticed the old wood stain looked as if it was blood that almost morphed into the jacket he had on, the old transitioning to the new, giving inspiration for the title, Yurok Blood. Oil on linen. 22.5x26.5 in.