Barbara Little Bear Delisle – Kahnawake Mohawk

Title: Barbara Little Bear Delisle – Kahnawake Mohawk
Image size: 38 x 29 inches
Medium: Colored and graphite pencils, acrylic, watercolor and ink.

Barbara started beading in the 1950's with her elders. As a child, she was taught to thread needles for master bead-workers on her Reserve near Montreal. Today, she beads traditional regalia for dancing, naming and ceremonial events.  She uses patterns and floral designs passed down from her great-great-grandmother Kwaktetiase, that are often rendered in luminous, contemporary colors on materials such as satin and dyed leather. Barbara says that most contemporary Iroquoian beadwork " done in a raised beadwork style which is unique to us. My work is personalized according to the clan and chosen colors."  She considers her work to be a contemporary style and prefers making flat work to raised beadwork. Her work is traditional, yet has a spiritual quality to it as well. In Gerry's portrait, she is standing on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, on the Kahnawake Reserve near her home where six generations of her family have lived.  Her work has been exhibited at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian and she, along with her daughter Towanna Miller, was selected to represent the Kahnawake Mohawk and exhibit their art at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.