SIX NATIONS – With beginnings in 1985, the Two Turtle Art Gallery features the acclaimed work of Onondaga Chief and Artist Arnold Jacobs — whose work mediums have evolved over time just as the Onkwehon:we have.
From soapstone carvings and lithographs to Giclee (jee-clay) and acrylic prints; Jacobs’ artwork has taken inspiration from and captured the life of the stories, culture and homelands of the Haudenosaunee people. But something new has entered the gallery.
In the past the Haudenosaunee people identified with their Clans and Nations by adorning their Kastowahs (headdresses) with a certain number of feathers, sitting in a certain area in Kanohses (Longhouse) according to their clan, and hanging emblems of their clans – be they painted or otherwise — outside of their home Kanohses.
This is a practice that Jacobs has modernized with active-wear using clan inspired designs through a line he named Spirit Imagewear.
“I wanted to do an identifying mark for each clan,” said Jacobs.
He explained that with his designs, he hoped to make them unique from other artists and aimed at giving the depicted animals a distinctive feel to their appearance.
“They’re contemporary designs — and that’s another thing is that I wanted it so that no matter where you go when you’re wearing this shirt, it’s not an old fashioned design. I wanted to show that our culture works today and it’s evolving.”
Jacobs worked with a screen printer to finalize the polo shirts, which can be worn during sports like golf or even by sports coaching staff.
“I know a lot of people like to golf and these would fit into that,” he said.
Currently, the Spirit Imagewear hosts three of the most common Haudenosaunee clans (Turtle, Bear and Wolf Clan), but if interest in the other designs flows through Jacobs will take orders for the other six clans.
As well, there is yet another medium Jacobs offers to show pride in ones clan.
He created a selection of clan pendants he named “Wild Bling,” which are made from sterling silver and can provide both a cultural and tasteful touch to any jewelry collection. All nine clans including the Bear, Wolf, Deer, Turtle, Beaver, Eel, Heron, Snipe, and Hawk Clan are represented in the trade-silver style pendants and the selection may have several choices for each.
If you would like to check out the new additions to the gallery, the gallery is located at the Middleport Plaza, on Highway 54. Or if you would like more information visit http://www.twoturtle.ca/ or call the gallery at 519-751-2774.