Earles, Chase Kawinhut -“Imperial Walker” and “The Turtle”

Imperial Walker 12" long x 12.25"h Turtle Effigy 4.5"long x 3.5"h

$ 3,400.00

Chase “Kawinhut” Earles is one of the few Caddo potters working today.  His new work is inspired by Indigenous Futurism, Star Wars, and historic Caddo vessels and designs.  Each piece is hand-built and then incised with complex designs.  They are each created as a pair so that one futuristic piece pairs to one of the historic vessels or effigies.  This is important, as part of the intent of this show is to educate about Caddo pottery forms and designs.  You can read more about this in the article, “Chase Kawinhut Earles: Caddo Pottery Revival and Indigenous Futurism“.

This pair is striking in the variation in size, coloration, and complexity.  they are titled, “The Imperial Walker” and “The Turtle”.  The Walker is inspired by the AT-AT of Star Wars, while the turtle is an effigy.  The slow but steady pace of the Walker is the impetus for the pairing. The long term resilience of the turtle, is the contrast to the implied, “Imperial Walker as the Oppressor.  This figure is built with a Pueblo building as the body of the piece, and the doorway is the imposition of outside religion.  These Caddo effigies are now the first modern-day interpretations of the culture and environment we live in. I use “First” a lot in things I describe or announce in my art and cultural activity. This is to erase the colonial’s “rebranding” of everything they said they did without recognizing we did it first. We were already here. That is why I “First” things so often. To help show the public that the Caddo are still here and still creating and pushing the creative edge for the future of not only my tribe but all Native art.”  Both pieces are signed on the bottom “Kawinhut”.  The name “Kawinhut” is important, as the last Caddo potter, Winhut, passed away in 1908 and Chase is continuing in her tradition of working with the clay and so his name is a masculine derivation of this family name.

The Caddo were a tribal group throughout the Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisianna areas.  Chase draws inspiration from the ancient Caddo pieces and yet they are not replicas.  The connection in the ancient work is in the clay, firing, and shapes.  He is primarily self-taught both as a potter and in his research of the Caddo ceramic past.  He has sought out the clay sources and each piece is coil built.  They are then slipped with a clay and mussel shell mixture and then burnished three times.  The result is a shiny surface with the flecks of shell reflecting light.  Each piece is then pit fired which not only hardens the clay but gives them fire clouds and color variations on the surface. After they are fired Chase etches into the surface of the clay to create the intricate designs.  The delicate designs are almost a surprise considering the hardness of the clay after the firing.