Circle of Life

Artist: Kelly Haney

Circle of Life is a replica of the bronze sculpture commissioned in 2009, for the Oklahoma Banking Department as an Art in Public Places project. The full-size sculpture can be viewed outside the Banking Department offices at 2900 North Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City. This piece was donated to the Oklahoma Art in Public Places collection by State Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson. It is now on loan to the Oklahoma Judicial Center collection.

Kelly Haney’s interest in art began at a very young age. His mother said as a toddler he began drawing the things he saw around him. He said at age six he used the red clay from his front yard to create Abraham Lincoln’s head.

His formal art training began after high school when he attended Bacone College in Muskogee and studied with Dr. Dick West. Haney was then awarded the Rockefeller Scholarship to the University of Arizona. He completed his education with a fine arts degree from Oklahoma City University.

In addition to his artistic interests, Haney also has a strong involvement with state and tribal government. In 1980, he was elected as a state representative, a post he held until 1986 when he was elected to the state senate. Before retirement in 2002, he served as chairman of the appropriations committee in the senate. He has the distinction of being the first full blood Native American to serve in the Oklahoma Legislature. In 2005, he was elected as Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation, serving a four-year term. He was not the first Haney to hold this important office – his grandfather Willie Haney was chief in the 1940s and his uncle Jerry Haney served as principal chief in the 1990s.

Though Haney’s formal art training focused on painting, his most visible work is as a sculptor. He was selected to execute The Guardian statue, a 22-foot bronze which sits atop the dome of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Source: Artist provided biography; Oklahoma Art in Public Places archives.