The Orange Monster's Masquerade Ball

Beaded Bandolier Bag By Martha Berry

Size: Approximately 36” H x 18” W x 2” D

Materials: Glass seed beads, wool, cotton, silk, wool yarn. To the extent possible, all materials are authentic to the late 18th century.

• Winner: Second Place, Traditional Beadwork/Quillwork, Cherokee Art Market 2017. This bandolier bag required 340 hours to complete.

The Orange Monster’s Masquerade Ball is a protest piece. Using the iconography of the Mississippian mound builders, and the traditions of early 19th century Cherokee beadwork, the bag illustrates the threat posed by President Trump to both Native American nations and to the people of the United States.

The motif on the fully beaded pouch flap is one found in the artifacts of the mounds of the Southeastern United States. It incorporates both the equilateral cross that represents the sun and ceremonial fire, as well as the curvilinear four winds symbol. Both fire and wind are powerful; the combination of the two is extremely powerful. I have used it to represent the Native American nations of the U.S., as well as the American people.

Their power is being surrounded, threatened, by the Uktena motif on the strap. Uktena is the great monster of Cherokee legend and here depicts President Trump. The creature’s wings, antlers, and serpent body bring in elements of the upper, middle, and lower worlds. The use of crystals on his head and down his back adheres to Cherokee lore. The edges of his body recall President Trump’s ever present blue suit and white shirt, and the red band at his neck represents the red tie.

The traditional forked eye symbol is perfect for a mask, it surrounds a blue eye encircled in white. The nickname “Orange Man” appears as orange transparent beads in his face, tail, and down the sides of his body. Red, used generously throughout the bag, is the Cherokee color of war.

Using transparent beads produces a shift in color as one moves past the bag. As the light shines from different angles, the beads go from dull to bold and shimmering. It is difficult to discern the monster’s true colors and intent since he changes so rapidly. The overall impression is of a dangerous, unpredictable monster attempting to surround, dominate, and devour the strength of the American people and the sovereignty of the Native nations. I hope that the power of the people enables us to survive his attack.