Made of Thunder
Title: Made of Thunder
Image size: 25 x 37 inches
Medium: Colored and graphite pencils, acrylic, watercolor and ink.

Original: $3000

Made of Thunder is a portrait of Goldie Jamison Conklin, (c. 1891 – 1974), a Seneca of the Heron Clan from the Allegany Reservation, Cattaraugus County, New York.

The most famous legend in Niagara Falls is that of the Maid of the Mist and the Thunder God Hinum, who the Haudenosaunee believed lived behind the Falls. In an apocryphal version of this myth, an Indian maiden is sacrificed annually by sending her over the cataract in a canoe, laden with fruit to appease Hinum.

In Gerry’s portrait of Goldie, he has represented her in a symbiotic relationship with the Falls, as a Native artist attuned to her surroundings and one proud of her heritage. From her waist belt she wears a beaded bag of her own manufacture.  The bag that hangs from her neck has a large, central heart motif that is often seen in Iroquois work.

During the eighteenth century the Iroquois developed a fondness for Scottish brooches that were made in the shape of a heart and Canadian silversmiths may have been responsible for bringing the style to Canada. Whatever the reason, these silver keepsakes became popular with Indian women. The Haudenosaunee wore them in such great numbers that it developed into a national emblem for them.