Dawn of the Red Dove

Title: Dawn of the Red Dove
Image size: 26 x 37 inches
Medium: Colored and graphite pencils, acrylic, watercolor and ink.

Original: $3000

Dawn of the Red Dove is a portrait of Mrs. Marquis, a Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake, Quebec. She is portrayed holding a beaded bag that was made by a Mohawk artist in 1915.  The designs on her dress and hat are typical of those illustrated in other nineteenth century photographs of Mohawks. 

In many of those images one or more small birds can be seen beaded onto the subject’s clothing. On the Kahnawake Reserve, there were both followers of the traditional council that was rooted in the clan system as well as those who belonged to the Christian mission.  Since many of the nineteenth century Mohawk had converted to Christianity, the appearance of what might be a dove on many articles of their clothing from that period may represent the Holy Spirit, part of the Christian trinity. It could be a symbolic declaration, in beadwork, that the person wearing it was a follower of the Christian faith.