Title: Clarissa
Image size: 20 x 25 inches
Medium: Colored and graphite pencils, acrylic, watercolor and ink.
(A limited-edition print of this image is also available).

Clarissa is a tribute to Gerry’s great-grandmother, Clarissa Basque Tellier (1849-1941), who was born and raised with her people, the Mi’kmaq, in Nova Scotia. She is wearing a traditional Mi’kmaq women’s cap which, in addition to its function as protection against the cold, was a medium on which the traditional Native beadworker could display her artistic skills. Just like the bag she wears around her neck, it is decorated with tiny glass beads and silk ribbon appliqué.  The design motifs on each are steeped in the magico-religious world view of the Northeast Woodland people. The Wabanaki in particular believed that there was power and magic in the decorations they placed on their personal attire. An artistic representation of a sacred plant, for instance, was believed to have a protective effect on the wearer that was as powerful as the actual plant itself. Consequently many Wabanaki garments and personal adornments had these designs woven into them.

Gerry’s artwork honors her spirit as well as that of all the Northeast Woodland people whose history and images he portrays in his work.