Casino’s hearth art celebrates springPublished 4:34pm Monday, April 29, 2013
It might be hard to tell with the roaring fire, but Four Winds Dowagiac’s hearth room contains a spring theme artistically.
That’s because Four Winds Dowagiac’s is the tribe’s easternmost gaming property, as well as keepers of the fire.
In traditional Pokagon Band ways, the easterly direction represents springtime, according to former Dowagiac resident Jason Wesaw of Kalamazoo.
His work hangs in the hearth room along with David Martin’s otters and eagles by David Shananaquet, of Odawa ancestry.
Martin has a “pop-up shop” in South Bend, Ind., known as the Bicycle Gallery.
Martin did tattoos while building an audience for his canvas creations.
Pop-up shops were created in 2010 when the city offered vacant space it owned to temporary retailers.
“My piece, the red and blue colors represent the spiritual nature of our people. The four different plants are also representative of springtime — wild strawberries, milkweed, water lilies and tobacco. The hand,” which also adorns his shirt, “just represents youth.”
“Each of us took the springtime theme and came up with something totally different,” Wesaw said. “Repetitive floral patterns represent health and vitality of plant life and floral life. Otters are elusive, but very playful, creatures. They live in water, so they have that healing spirit within them as well.”
Wesaw is working with the tribe to develop a cultural center at Rodgers Lake.
There is already an adjacent sign announcing a gas station and convenience store coming from the Band’s economic development wing in Dowagiac.
“Sometimes we feel like our heads are spinning,” Wesaw said, “then we get a day like this to step back and reflect.”
The Pokagon Band hosts the Potawatomi Gathering Aug. 5-11.