Wesaw, Jason – “Woodpecker” Lidded Jar
Jason Wesaw is Potowatomi and from the Great Lakes area. Each piece is handmade and the simplicity of forms reflects modernism with the context of his art. For his pottery, he uses glazes, underglazes and the top of the lid is a dyed deer tail. The shapes are simple but with thoughtfulness in the content of the design. This jar is entitled, “Woodpecker”. There is a single painted woodpecker as the design with silver luster geometric surrounding shapes. It is signed on the bottom with his turtle hallmark. Jason has won numerous awards for his pottery and paintings. He is a creative force in Native art and we are excited to have his work in the gallery.
He says of his pottery,
The designs present in my work are very simple, understated, and highly stylized. Color plays a major role in symbolically representing aspects of spirit and storytelling in my art. I have rarely utilized realistic or literal imagery in my work, so these recent pieces are quite a drastic departure for me, and I’m happy with the outcomes. In preparing this small body of work relating to songbirds, I was reminded of the narrative set forth by one of the last hereditary chiefs of my tribe, Leopold Pokagon. He was an educated Potawatomi man and the first published Native American author in the United States. In his writings, he spoke passionately about the changing identity and landscape of the middle 19th century. He acknowledged that many of the birds he heard in his youth no longer sang their beautiful woodland tunes. They were vanishing, fleeing, at a rapid pace, much like the traditional culture of our people. You see, we are deeply connected to the birds, the animals, and all beings in the natural world. The Blue Jay, Robin, Cardinal, and Woodpecker are all powerful helpers, each with their own gift to share. They carry on their wings a gentle song that reminds us of the importance in family, environment, and respecting all life.