David Chetlathe Paladin

Uploaded 23 Mar 2015 — 11 favorites
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© Charles Rushton
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

From the Artists Series.
Wikipedia: "American artist whose life story sounds more like fiction than fact. The son of a Navajo Indian mother and a white missionary father, he spent his early years on the Navajo reservation near Chinle, Arizona. He was an incorrigible runaway, a stowaway, a secret agent and a survivor of a WW II prison camp. Returning to his Indian roots, he was trained to be a shaman by the Huichols and Tarahumaras of Mexico, the Northwest Coastal Indians and the Pueblo Indians, and by the Australian Aboriginals. While he lived in New Mexico he was a radio announcer for a classical music station, midwife, volunteer police chaplain, and prison chaplain at Los Lunas Medium Security Correctional Facility where he began the first Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in a prison setting. He devoted the last twenty years of his life to painting and community service.

Paladin joined the Army in WW II and while on active duty, was shot by German soldiers. A British patrol found his body and thinking him dead, threw it on a train of corpses. While unloading, they saw movement and took him to the hospital. Paladin was shipped back to the U.S. where he remained in a coma for two years.

Suddenly, in 1946 he regained consciousness and told the nurse that he was an artist. When returned to civilian life, he began to paint abstracts in the style of Kandinsky, works that were remarkably similar to those of the master. Though he had never studied art or languages, he began to use Russian words and demonstrate facts about Kandinsky's life, even little known facets of information.

Several books have been written about the case; Ruth Montgomery's "Threshold to Tomorrow," Chapter 3, and Dr. Banerjee's "The Once and Future Life." Mystics explain the phenomena by saying that when Kandinsky died, 12/13/1944, in Neuilly sur-Seine, he "walked-in," entering the damaged body of Paladin and taking two years to become accustomed to the new vehicle.

He became known as a Navajo Shamanic-artist and channeler who said that, "My underlying philosophy is that the folklore and legends of the Native Americans serve as my point of departure. I do not plan to specifically illustrate the legends but to capture the spirit behind them, the evolution, the creation, the structure of the universe as experienced by a native people. Sharing in that manner is to share more than the concepts at an intellectual level. It is also sharing the spiritual concepts with the viewer."

Paladin died in 1984."

David was a great storyteller.

5 responses

  • Geoff Plant

    Geoff Plant gave props (23 Mar 2015):


  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (23 Mar 2015):

    Wonderful portrait and the story of his life is amazing!!!

  • Tiia Vissak

    Tiia Vissak gave props (24 Mar 2015):

    a great portrait!

  • Carl Kuntze

    Carl Kuntze gave props (29 Mar 2015):

    Strong Character revealing portrait.

  • rekha nag

    rekha nag gave props (30 Mar 2015):

    Excellent portrait!!

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