Thursday, 24 October 2013

Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears
The Photograph
Title:  Trail of Tears
This photograph is part of the 'Cowboys & Indians' series which explores the dynamic historic relationship between North American First Nations people and European colonists.  It is representative of the lack of freedom of choice that First Nations people had when it came to government policy.

The History
As the United States government was expanding their cotton enterprise, they desired more land, specifically the land that was occupied by the country's eastern native population.  As a means to acquire this land, the 'Indian Removal Act' was put into effect in 1830 wherein land west of the Mississippi was offered to First Nations groups that lived east of the river.  Some groups migrated voluntarily while others refused to leave.  In 1834, a small faction of Cherokee individuals signed a formal agreement and sold Cherokee land to the government, unbeknownst to the Cherokee National Council.  When the Council discovered this deception, it was too late.  Despite a petition signed by 15,000 Cherokee people protesting the treaty, the Supreme Court ordered the Cherokee to give up their land within three years time and move west.  Again, most Cherokee refused leave their homeland.  At the end of the three years, the government sent in 7,000 troops to force 18,000 Cherokee people at bayonet point from their homes and 'escort' them to the west.  On this 800 mile, 6 month march, 4,000 First Nations people died of exposure, starvation, and disease on the now infamous 'Trail of Tears'.


The Antiques      
** From the D'Arcy Paladeau collection
Slave Shackles:  Late eighteenth century
These heavy iron shackles were used for human containment, likely in the American slave trade.  One end is circular while the other end is shaped like the letter 'D'.  According to Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site in Chatham, Ontario, the circular end would have been used for an ankle while the other end would have held wrists, though the 'owner' could have easily varied its use.            








Saturday, 5 October 2013

Porcupine Roach

Porcupine Roach
The Photograph 
Title:  Porcupine Roach
Silvershotz Journal of Photography chose this photograph (along with four others from the Tapestries from the Red Drawing Room series) to be published in a two page article.  Silvershotz Folio 2012 showcases 26 international up and coming fine art photographers.  To download a free version, click here:  Silvershotz Folio 2012.

The History
In this photo, a young European girl adorns a First Nations' headdress and looks very natural doing so.  Rather than representing a clash of cultures, this photograph depicts the coming together of nations.  In the late 1700's, the North West Company of Montreal made its debut and rivaled the Hudson's Bay Company in the fur trade.  The North West Company travelled further inland than the HBC men and hired mainly French fur traders to do the job.  These 'voyageurs' befriended the native inhabitants, trading furs, learning native languages, and marrying native women.  These marriages were known as 'La Facon du Pays' or 'Custom of the Country'.  Though some of these unions ended by 'turning off' or abandoning their wives and children, many were long lasting and resulted in generations of Metis.  Today, many Canadian customs and traditions stem from Metis culture.

The Antiques
*From the Julian Fenech collection
The Roach.  Historically, a roach was a North American First Nations headdress worn by males of tribes east of the Rocky Mountains.  Used mostly in ceremonial dances or sometimes by warriors, these headdresses were made of long porcupine guard hairs along with moose and/or whitetail deer hair.  They were often dyed bright colors and the base was made of leather or bone to which the man would tie his own hair.  Roaches of the Central and Southern plains stood erect like the one in the photograph while Northern tribes flared theirs in a more horizontal fashion.  The roach in this photograph dates from the early 1900's.  Interestingly, the term 'roach' came from the custom of clipping or 'roaching' a horse's mane to make it stand upright.

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Smashwords - Julia Pastrana and Adeline's Wilt

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Civilization

Civilization

The Photograph
Title: Civilization
In this photograph, a young British girl gazes at a painting of an English war hero, both sustaining injuries in the name of their country. This photograph is part of the 'Cowboys & Indians' series that recently took First Place in the Lucie Foundation/IPA professional competition in the 'Children' category.  IPA 2013 Winners
The series explores the dynamic and tumultuous relationship between North American First Nations people and European colonists between the years 1580 and 1880.

The History
As European colonists began to arrive on the east coast of North America in the late 1500's, they came face to face with a population of people very different from themselves.  These people were referred to as 'heathens' or 'savages' because of their differences in religion, culture, and way of life.  As with any colonial government, they believed that their way was the correct way...the civilized way.  In bringing civilization to this new land, they also brought death and destruction by shooting, scalping, raping, and kidnapping the native inhabitants.  Thus the irony of the title 'Civilization'.

The Antiques
The Painting:  Portrait of a young Rudyard Kipling circa 1895.
                       The Artist:  Miss Irlam Briggs:  1867 - 1951.
As a painter of portraits and religious scenes, many of Irlam's works still hang in churches and galleries throughout Europe and North America.  'The Violinist' (actually titled 'My Sister Agnes'), for example, sits in the Russell-Coates Museum in England.  Irlam lived in Parkstone, Dorset, England and studied at the British Royal Academy, the Academie Julian in Paris, Wimbledon Art College, and St. John's Wood School of Art.  She was the aunt of writer Mary Butts.
I own five of this artist's paintings - including two self portraits - and believe I have the world's largest collection of Irlam Briggs paintings.  Irlam Briggs Collection

The Oosik
*From the Julian Fenech collection
An 'oosik' is the Inuit word for a 'penile bone' and it is what the girl in the picture is using as a cane.  Also known as a 'baculum', this bone is present in the males of most species with the exception of humans, horses, whales, rabbits, and a few others.  It rests in the lower abdominal area and can moved into the penile shaft when needed for short notice copulation.  Inuit would use oosiks as clubs or knife handles.  Their hardiness and ability to withstand the cold without shattering made it a useful tool in the Arctic.
Walrus bacula, like the one in the photo, are the largest bacula of any species.  This one is petrified and dates back at least 300 years.

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Smashwords - Julia Pastrana and Adeline's Wilt