Shapeshifting | Transformations in Native American Art

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See what others have said in response to Jonathan Perry and the Ball Headed War Club.

  • My father's automatic watch he bought in Hong Kong in 1954; I love to wear it, even though I can't be sure of the time; I look at my phone to be certain; the two kind of form a bridge in "time" for me and remind me of my father, long since passed on.
    Apr 27 6:40 pm
  • Sea glass has always spoken to me. I like to imagine where it comes from, and how it ended up in the ocean. I have found pieces that date back hundreds of years; milk bottles & boat headlights. Pottery is particularly fun to find, and tumbled brick can be very interesting looking. I use the sea glass to decorate my house, give as gifts, and make jewelry.Growing up on the N shore, sea glass is home.
    Apr 17 3:07 pm
  • My wedding band: diamond, swirls of gold, grasping my ring finger...the diamond a centerpiece of my grandmother's engagement ring...worn by my mother after my grandmothers death.
    Apr 16 2:23 pm
  • On the Jewish high holy day of Rosh Hashanah a ram's horn known as a shofar is blown. There are a specific number of sounds and notes that are blown. It is a symbol of the call to prayer as well as the call to wake up and take stock of your life. It celebrates the birthday of the world.
    Mar 22 1:02 pm
  • During World War II my father was unable to fight due to illness. Instead, he asked to work at the US Plywood company, designing parts of aircraft out of wood in order to save metal. He designed a wingtip fuel tank out of laminated plywood, and brought home one half of a prototype. He then put this wartime artifact to use as my baby sister's cradle. For me this has always symbolized resilience.
    Mar 11 4:21 pm
  • Wampum, clubs, bowls, spoons, objects that we as Wampanoag people have made in the past and still continue to make are treasures and memories. As a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag people I understand this from not just a visual standpoint, but I as well understand the effort that goes into this. Being an artisan for my people, to see this is heartwarming.
    Mar 09 1:38 pm
  • A gold ring has transformed my life. I wear it every day as it was worn by my husband's mother. Because of the symbolic and difficult commitments that we create, we are transformed and integrated into different families, cultures, and beliefs. The major difference for me, though, is that these changes were created by choice and through peace and love. So different than forced relationships.
    Mar 06 12:31 pm
  • A crossword puzzle completed by my grandfather in his old age shows his lingering intellectual investment in a world eroding his physical form.
    Feb 25 11:36 am
  • Well, this piece let's me know what Indian tribe I might have come from. It makes me realize the same thing he did: I might not have been on this earth because of nature's fate.
    Feb 22 2:47 pm
  • My great great grandmas jade neckless has a powerful stories. This is because of the perseverance she and the whole line of my family need. Even in times of starvation and money lacked they would not sell the neckless even though it is worth a lot.
    Feb 22 1:59 pm
  • The family car. Inside you've experienced fear, happiness, anger, sadness, guilt and many other feelings. When it is first brought home it's exciting, but it quickly becomes part off the family. The dents and scrapes tell the story of where it's been and what it's seen. Bumper stickers and magnets voice the driver's opinions.
    Feb 20 3:32 pm
  • The object I would pick is a small chest carried by a relative when he worked on a whaling ship during the 1800's. Inside was a diary he kept telling of what he saw and felt. Also he made things and collected things. His choices are intriguing to me. They tell me how he was approaching his world and allow me to feel a connection to him today.
    Feb 19 1:47 pm
  • The wooden candlestick holders brought from Norway by my great grandmother. I always feel connected to my ancestors and pass that history forward to my children...We are our past and will be our future. Knowing who you are is very powerful and humbling.
    Feb 09 12:22 pm
  • When we purchased our Salem home in the McIntire district we were given a silver cup owned by the Salem merchant who originally built our house. We were told at the Closing that the cup has passed to each home owner though the centuries. Whenever I see the cup, I am always in wonder of the personal depth of history that this one small cup can hold in our home.
    Feb 08 1:38 pm
  • The brass s on my fathers desk meant to me he ways in which he was strong and unbending, yet willing to reflect other opinions than those of himself - but always colored by his singular outlook.
    Feb 03 3:07 pm
  • My grandmother's wooden kitchen spoon. I cook and bake with it today. That tangible connection is powerful. I always pick it over the modern plastic ones because it connects me to my family and my meals to their meals and my home to their home.
    Feb 01 4:30 pm
  • There are many objects that have been handed down to my husband and I through our families, but the one that is the most powerful for me is a ring that was once my grandmother's. I have no memories of her because she died on my 5th birthday, but I love to wear it and think about the kind of person she was.
    Feb 01 3:51 pm
  • My grandfather used the same silver pill box everyday. I can still picture his beautiful fingers running over the decorations on the lid. This was the only item of his I ever wanted and it sits on my nightstand still.
    Feb 01 3:44 pm
  • The photo of the woman with the scar. It's 2012 and women are still treated like the property of men.
    Jan 31 1:17 pm
  • Levees in New Orleans.
    Jan 29 2:13 pm
  • This antique pocket watch I carry daily provides a reminder of the connection I feel with my forebears and their times.
    Jan 25 1:52 pm
  • A talking stick I use in teaching leadership. The voices it has encouraged have left their energy in it.
    Jan 21 2:30 pm
  • The war club reminds me of a regal scepter or a military staff or other symbols of national power and the sobering responsibility that the exercise of power entails.
    Dec 21 6:21 pm
  • I am Seminole living on the North Shore in Nahant and the other tombolos beforehand in Mass. I love the sea stones that were here before USA. I feel the W African drum of my other roots of Egypt. The drum head is cracked. I leave it that way. It still makes music. Ho.
    Apr 29 3:27 pm
  • My trilobite earrings keep me rooted to the earth. They symbolize the life that flourished long before man and that may continue after.
    Apr 28 2:01 pm
  • A lilac bush from my Grandmother's house provided shoots passing down following generations as each descendant has it's own descendant bush in a metaphorical family tree.
    Apr 26 12:34 pm
  • My father's radio. As a boy I would sit with him on summer evenings listening to baseball games. It was the time when we would talk and he would share his feelings about baseball and then other topics. It was how I got to know him, and he got to know me.
    Apr 24 12:20 pm
  • Every stone has a story wether it was thrown, kicked, stepped on, or washed away, every stone has a story.
    Apr 20 1:51 pm
  • So many things from my childhood. For one thing there is my blanket. I have had it my entire life. It has always served as something for protection, something that I could sleep with at night that I could feel safe with. My grandpa died last September so his pillow pet has always made me feel like I am with him and that no matter how far away he is, he can always be with me.
    Apr 19 2:55 pm
  • My little pink bunny. I love it because my grandma made it for me. It is my favorite stuffed animal!
    Apr 17 10:41 am
  • My paint brush. With that in hand, I can do anything.
    Apr 12 11:43 am
  • Two things.

    My journals that I decorate with paint and objects I find during the time period I keep them - visual reminders of my past.

    Shells, leaves, found objects from nature - so i can be reminded of all the other, interconnected lives I share the world with.
    Mar 31 2:53 pm
  • Yes. An object that voices a powerful story to me is my baby blanket. It tells the story of my life because I have had it since I was 1.
    Mar 17 2:45 pm
  • I thought it was interesting that the symbol of leadership should be a war club, here representing not bloodshed but the beauty of assertion, or voice.
    Mar 05 1:13 pm
  • I'm feeling sad when I think about this war club. It reminds me more than the other objects of what has happened to Native People over these past centuries. Yet, I feel hopeful for the future, where we can all be a unique piece of the mosaic that makes up America, and be celebrated for it.
    Feb 24 2:01 pm
  • My diary. All of my experiences are in it. Everything that I've ever thought, liked, admired, or saw was listed. Highlights of the day. Yes.
    Feb 24 1:51 pm
  • Plymouth Rock tells a powerful mythological story about how the early colonists and Native Americans coexisted in a cooperative and peaceful way. The sad reality is that Europeans conquered this land, and we are lucky that descendants of this continent's original inhabitants still exist.
    Feb 23 11:20 pm
  • This club that is in the display case is one...without he (the artist) would not be here...that is powerful.
    Feb 22 1:08 pm
  • My guitar. I can do anything with my guitar in my hand. It's great to play it because you can make people feel sad or happy or mad, depending on what you're playing. It feels great to know that your music really affected someone.
    Feb 22 11:58 am
  • To me photographs are powerful objects. They can be taken over and over and never is there one that is the same or speaks the same message to different people. They are all unique and all stories that come out of them are equally powerful. A photograph of my birth mother is a powerful one to me. Nobody will really ever know exactly how I feel about it. Not even me.
    Feb 20 3:10 pm
  • My sun glasses, they were given to me by my grandmother, who wore them when she was a young mother.
    Feb 19 3:35 pm
  • Right before my great grandmother died I noticed a ceramic Christmas tree that didn't have a lightbulb and we had to get a light bulb. A week later she died . When I found out I cried and asked one question: do you think she ever got that lightbulb? It is now in my grandmother's house and I will treasure it forever.
    Feb 19 12:54 pm
  • The wooden jewelry box my dad had on his dresser that he made in wood shop. Taught me that I could make things.
    Feb 18 1:14 pm
  • A music box I inherited from my grandmother's family. It represents her Southern roots and her joy in life.
    Feb 05 4:24 pm
  • This club may represent the preserving of culture and traditions of the artist's tribe, but the messages of responsibility to one's people is one that the whole of American culture and our country's leaders could stand to listen to.
    Feb 05 4:11 pm
  • A syringe. It evokes both my descent into hell and my redemption.
    Feb 05 4:10 pm
  • A letter opener shaped like a dagger that says Macbeth. It was a gift to my dad after he directed that play. My son used it as a prop when he memorized the dagger speech from that play.
    Feb 05 4:09 pm
  • A breadboard made by my grandmother's youngest brother as a wedding gift circa 1905.
    Feb 05 1:02 pm
  • My great grandmother's belongings hold hidden stories of the Italian heritage that she has and of the stories that have been bestowed upon by her and my family.
    Feb 05 12:04 pm
  • This iPad Is voicing a powerfully story about an object that voices a powerfull story.
    Feb 04 4:36 pm
  • I am lucky to have many of my Swedish grandmother's cooking tools. I can think of her when measuring or sifting flour or serving pletta (Swedish pancakes).
    Feb 01 3:45 pm
  • My cello that shows my love of music
    Jan 18 10:58 am
  • My grandmother's and mother's (now mine) rolling pin.
    Jan 16 2:52 pm
  • The necklace from my first communion my grandpa gave me.
    Jan 16 2:24 pm
  • Anything I see in a museum from the past. Artifacts, paintings, mosaics, sculptures. Stuff from the past really can tell a story if you just take the time to listen.
    Jan 16 11:44 am
  • A sail. It carries the wind, breath of our world, and moves me literally by me collaborating with and adjusting to Nature.
    Jan 15 2:42 pm
  • My drum that allows me quickly to stay connected to spirit while its use evolves in response to the situation.
    Jan 14 2:48 pm
  • The pile of blankets on the other side of the room.
    Jan 10 9:36 am
  • The wedding band around my finger tells a story that only one other person on this planet will ever truly comprehend.
    Jan 06 4:35 pm
  • The liberty bell in my home town of Philly. It represents the resilience of this budding nation and what we still represent today.
    Jan 06 4:31 pm
  • My mother's jewelry box holds memories and stories and mystery.
    Apr 28 4:26 pm
  • A dragon pendant, one I always wear. It is a plastic composite, featuring two dragons, pictured in a yin yang position. These are the dragons of the mind and heart, have this to remember that the dragon of the heart is one you have yet to master. It serves as a reminder to me that I am also an emotional being, and that it is important to recognize that.
    Apr 24 11:53 am
  • A bird nest or a bee hive. From small brains great beauty.
    Apr 21 2:52 pm
  • Wedding rings remind me of a promise and a bond between two people, one that will hopefully last.
    Apr 20 2:01 pm
  • Jewish prayer items "Tallis" (prayer shawl) and "tefillin"(phyllacteries), bring ancestral and spiritual power to prayer.
    Apr 20 12:23 pm
  • A shark tooth my mom found on the beach when I was in her belly. A tree trunk (because it tells you how old it is and it tells you how it grows).
    Apr 19 12:56 pm
  • My tiny gold Holy Spirit medal, inspiration and the Dove of Peace.
    Apr 18 12:47 pm
  • A beautiful bracelet that my best friend gave to me. It is from Ireland and it has a gold bird on it
    Apr 15 2:30 pm
  • A baseball cap that is old, worn, and used, passed from a family member on.
    Apr 15 2:24 pm
  • The Mishkan. A movable sanctuary.
    Apr 15 1:18 pm
  • My wedding ring. Traditional, reminding me of my mother yet representing my own family, so representing my life.
    Apr 13 12:13 pm
  • A glass turtle that both my grandfather and mother had on their desks. Both had clear, focused minds for business. I have the turtle now and run my own business!
    Apr 07 2:40 pm
  • Voices that share our identities, without blotting out others, are voices of selfhood, expression, and truth. We must all learn to listen for that quality of voice in ourselves and others.
    Apr 07 12:29 pm
  • A ring that my father gave my mother, and then they both gave me.
    Apr 06 3:45 pm
  • The cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on...
    Apr 04 3:18 pm
  • A woven rug made by Berber women in Morocco. Although the women are illiterate, the symbols within the rug tell the tale of amazing struggle in the Sahara.
    Mar 31 2:00 pm
  • I wear a Masonic ring that my father wore. When he died my mother wore it each day. When she died I took it from her finger and I wear it to remember them each day.
    Mar 25 4:32 pm
  • Cradleboards, decorated painstakingly, as if such care and devotion to form and brilliance will protect a precious new life.
    Mar 23 11:13 am
  • The books in my father's library, collected by him for over sixty years. His red leather chair and ottoman, to sit there surrounded by his presence.
    Mar 18 4:04 pm
  • Yes, an object that voices a powerful story to me would be my iPod that has all the songs, videos, and games that I like and expresses my personality.
    Mar 17 2:44 pm
  • My grandmother's bookcase that was in her foyer and that I have now.
    Mar 15 4:24 pm
  • My kitty blanket was a gift when I was born from people who love me.
    Mar 11 11:43 am
  • Patchwork quilts...many pieces make a whole
    Mar 08 12:43 pm
  • I have a very fuzzy blanket that is pink with purple polkadots. It is soooooo fuzzy. I put it on my bed with my stuffed hedgehog. It looks just right.
    Mar 04 12:38 pm
  • My grandfather's beautiful paintings of rural North Shore landscapes from the 1920's -- land that is now overtaken by sprawl.
    Mar 02 12:48 pm
  • My great grandfather's confirmation poem made by an unknown relative and given to him, which survives with my family a hundred and fifty years later.
    Feb 26 12:50 pm
  • My grandmother knits quilts that pass down stories to each of our family members.
    Feb 25 4:47 pm
  • Paintings show new life and places and voice new ideas.
    Feb 25 3:31 pm
  • Squeeze. Used to pulp tomatoes in fall when they are plentiful. My mother in New Hampshire uses it to make soup or tomato juice in large quantity for winter. We could buy it, but it does not taste as good. Squeeze gets red tomato juice all over me when I help my mom. It is fun.
    Feb 25 12:14 pm
  • A gun is very powerful story to me. It is a symbol of safety, war and fear.
    Feb 24 4:01 pm
  • My grandmothers dolls.I have grown up to my grandmother always talking about her dolls and I love them.
    Feb 24 1:54 pm
  • Yourself. You have a strong and meaningful story.
    Feb 23 1:01 pm
  • My Disney character blanket that I have had since I was 2 years old
    Feb 22 3:07 pm
  • I am a Navajo and I will pass down my turquoise necklace to my kids.
    Feb 22 1:03 pm
  • When I read books they tell me stories that are permanently stuck in the files and depths of my head. Then I can never forget these stories. I think it is because that I like them that they are permanently stuck in my head.
    Feb 22 12:55 pm
  • My video games tell stories.
    Feb 22 12:52 pm
  • An symbolizes new life and new beginnings
    Feb 22 11:57 am
  • This is a very powerful piece. It was very symbolic of leadership and courageousness.
    Feb 22 11:55 am
  • My stuffed elephant Lizzy, because my brother picked it out for me at the hospital gift shop.
    Feb 20 3:20 pm
  • "Monster Indian" is one that spoke to me. The colors were so bright and lively that it was interesting that they were used to represent a monster figure. The blurry half of the face was also a very interesting part of the art piece.
    Feb 20 3:08 pm