Labor of Love

Laresa's used drum by Gert

While I have been working on taking photographs of all the artwork that will be going into a show this coming fall, I have been surprised by the sheer volume of work that my mother and her family of artist’s have at their fingertips.  This piece, an Unangan drum, made by my mother for my daughter,  shows Gert’s brilliant workmanship; each component of this musical instrument is a work of art in and of itself.  The drum consists of a piece of bent wood to form the drum head.  The drum handle, ingeniously attached, was crafted from wood and ivory.  The drum, itself, is a piece of worked goat hide, placed on the drumhead in such a way that the skin can be adjusted to accomodate humidity, thus keeping the tone that you want.  The drum stick was made from a searched out piece of driftwood, covered by a piece of soft leather.  The paint for the drum is red ochre, made by grinding the stone and mixing it with a medium.  Brachiopods, collected from our beaches, decorate the handle and add their own sound.  The design on the skin is a traditional Unangan design.  The smudges on the skin were made by my daughter as this is a drum that is used for singing in Unangam tunuu and dancing our history.

3 thoughts on “Labor of Love

  1. Beautiful-the drum, your writing about it as a piece of traditional art, yet more touchingly as a link in a family lineage with you in the middle and I see that family link symbolized in the design at the center of the drum head. Thanks for sharing this.

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