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A Young Woman's Journey

Both of Jeanne Rorex Bridges’ parents had Cherokee blood, and they were married during the Great Depression. As the artist remembers, “They both worked extremely hard to buy land, farm, and raise cattle and kids. Both of my parents were wonderful storytellers.

They told stories about their lives and the characters they had met along the way – just common days of hard work, common people and their personalities and simple stories about children and animals. The stories weren’t glamorous or very exciting but very interesting and usually funny. Listening to their impressions and memories, knowing their honesty and generosity, gave me an appreciation of the beauty and humor found in everyday life and relationships.

This painting, “A Young Woman’s Journey,” looks into the sad face of woman and child who have traveled the Trail of Tears after being forced from their homes. The trail of broken promises is often depicted by the harshness of winter with the blowing snow and the wind. This forced move to the West was also during the middle of summer.

The extreme heat and humidity of this region is as harsh on the human as is the cold of winter. This young mother is concerned about her children. Her young son is exhausted from the walking and the hat, but he is too large for her to carry. She must maintain adequate fluids in her body to produce enough milk for her newborn’s arrival.

“A Young Woman’s Journey” won the Jerome Tiger Trail of Tears Memorial Award at the Cherokee National Museum and became the poster art for its next year’s show. The painting was responsible for a feature article on the artistic impressions of Jeanne Rorex Bridges in Southwest Art Magazine.

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