SU presents President McAleese with gift by local Native American artist
SU presents President McAleese with gift by local Native American artistMay 01, 2007Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
At the conclusion of her public address today in Hendricks Chapel, President of Ireland Mary McAleese was presented with a gift from Syracuse University — a piece of original artwork by local Native American artist Tammy Tarbell-Boehning ’80, a Mohawk and resident of Onondaga.
The piece is a wheel-thrown bowl that was carved, glazed and kiln fired. The bowl has four constellations on top that represent the four directions.
Says Tarbell-Boehning: “Pottery became a lost art form when iron pots were brought over from Europe. Over a period of time, the meanings for the designs have been lost, necessitating a lot of guess work. There are very few potters who are trying to bring back pottery using their own style of work. Each has studied Iroquoian pottery, so we have knowledge of what went into making pottery.”
Tarbell-Boehning was raised near the Onondaga Indian Reservation; her Haudenosaunee heritage remains very important to all aspects of her life. She began expressing herself in the visual arts at an early age and later studied graphic art at Onondaga Community College and at SU, where she received a bachelor of fine arts degree.
As a college student, she developed a love for clay, and has since specialized in ceramics. To give expression to her own heritage, she incorporates the shapes and designs of old-style Iroquois pottery and uses traditional materials such as feathers, hide and glass beads. Her figurative pottery combines old and new techniques and materials in the representation of American Indian women. In these clay works she attempts to capture the essence of the Native American woman’s spiritual way of life.
Tarbell-Boehning is a self-employed potter and sculptor whose work can be seen in Native American art shows and museum collections across the country. With her business partner/husband, Tarbell-Boehning enjoys traveling to museums, pow wows and art markets. In 1987, she served as artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan School for the Arts in Syracuse.