Berry wins art show with beaded protest piece

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
08/15/2018 08:45 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee National Treasure Martha Berry won grand prize with her beaded bandolier bag at the opening of the 23rd annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show at the Cherokee Heritage Center. The name for the bag is “The Orange Monster’s Masquerade Ball” and is a protest piece using iconography of the Mississippian mound builders and the traditions of early 19th century Cherokee beadwork to illustrate the threat posed by President Trump to Native American nations and the people of the United States. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee National Treasure Martha Berry won grand prize with her beaded bandolier bag titled “The Orange Monster’s Masquerade Ball” at the 23rd annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show. The motif on the fully beaded pouch flap is one found in the artifacts of the mounds of the southeastern United States. It incorporates both the equilateral cross that represents the sun and ceremonial fire, as well as the curvilinear four winds symbol. She used they symbol to represent the Native American nations as well as the American people. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Wind and fire is being surrounded and threatened by the Uktena motif on the bag’s right strap of Cherokee National Treasure Martha Berry’s grand prize-winning bandolier bag. Uktena is a monster in Cherokee legend and here depicts President Trump. The creature’s wings, antlers and serpent body bring in elements of the upper, middle and lower worlds. The use of crystals on his head and down his back adheres to Cherokee lore. The edges of his body recall Trump’s ever-present blue suit and white shirt, and the red band at his neck represents the red tie. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee National Treasure Martha Berry won grand prize with her beaded bandolier bag titled “The Orange Monster’s Masquerade Ball” at the Cherokee Homecoming Art Show. She uses the Uktena motif to protest President Trump. The nickname “Orange Man” appears as orange transparent beads in his face, tail and down the sides of his body, which is shown on the left strap. COURTESY
DALLAS – Cherokee National Treasure Martha Berry on Aug. 10 won the 23rd annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Shows’ grand prize with her beaded bandolier bag “The Orange Monster’s Masquerade Ball,” which she said is a protest piece against President Trump.

“Using the iconography of the Mississippian mound builders, and the traditions of early 19th century Cherokee beadwork, the bag illustrates the threat posed by President Trump to both Native American nations and to the people of the United States,” she said.

She said its motif on the fully beaded pouch flap is one found in the artifacts of the mounds of the southeastern United States. She added that it incorporates both the equilateral cross that represents the sun and ceremonial fire, as well as the curvilinear four winds symbol.

“Both fire and wind are powerful. The combination of the two is extremely powerful. I have used it to represent the Native American nations of the U.S., as well as the American people,” she explained.

She said the wind and fire are being surrounded, threatened, by the Uktena motif on the strap. Uktena is a monster in Cherokee legend and on the bag depicts Trump, she said. Its wings, antlers and serpent body bring in elements of the upper, middle and lower worlds, she said, and that the use of crystals on his head and down his back adheres to Cherokee lore. The edges of his body recall Trump’s ever-present blue suit and white shirt, while the red band at his neck represents the red tie, she added.

The traditional forked-eye symbol is perfect for a mask, Berry said, and that it surrounds a blue eye encircled in white. The nickname “Orange Man” appears as orange transparent beads in his face, tail and down the sides of his body, she said. Red, used generously throughout the bag, is the Cherokee color of war.

“Using transparent beads produces a shift in color as one moves past the bag. As the light shines from different angles, the beads go from dull to bold and shimmering. It is difficult to discern the monster’s true colors and intent since he changes so rapidly,” Berry said. “The overall impression is of a dangerous, unpredictable monster attempting to surround, dominate and devour the strength of the American people and the sovereignty of the Native nations. I hope the power of the people enables us to survive his attack.”

The win marks the third time Berry has taken home the show’s grand prize.

The Homecoming Art Show runs through Sept. 22 and features 92 pieces by 60 Cherokee artists, divided into two divisions: traditional and contemporary.

The traditional division is defined as “arts originating before European contact” and consists of three categories: basketry, pottery and traditional arts. The contemporary division is defined as “arts arising among the Cherokee after European contact” and consists of seven categories: paintings, sculpture, pottery, basketry, beadwork, jewelry and textiles.

CHC Curator Callie Chunestudy said all artwork in the show is for sale and can be seen on the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Facebook page.
About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He e ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He e ...

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