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Randy Chitto


Randy is a Choctaw Indian sculptor specializing in turtle-storyteller images made from ceramic. He began this creative focus in the 1980s when he was an art student at the Institute of American Indian Arts. The turtle is symbolic to his heritage as one of the three sacred animals. The other two are the bear and the raccoon. These animals are often the focus of stories that the Choctaw Indians tell to recount their origins and honor heroes in their clans.

Of his work it was written: "The turtles' popularity is, in part, a reflection of Chitto's own cheery charisma. Each has a flirtatious smile and totes a miniature medicine pouch that dangles from its rotund body. Inspired by the Choctaw story of warriors who placed dirt in their pouches so their spirits could find the way home if they died in battle, Chitto often stuffs each pouch with a tiny ceramic shard from an early sculpture that broke in the firing."

Randy Chitto was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi to Choctaw parents, and as a toddler, moved to Chicago, Illinois. He was an avid baseball player and early thought he would be a baseball player, but was directed to art by being around a friend's father, who was a commercial artist for the Wrigley chewing gum business, and by his mother, who was an amateur beader. Chitto was fascinated by the art supplies and by the processes he observed.

He enrolled at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, a city he found quite primitive compared to Chicago, but he grew to love it. He eventually married, had two sons and settled into his home and art career there."

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