Ah-day: The Favorite One's Chair
The ah-day child among Kiowa families receives everything they desire, even if the rest of the family must suffer. The Ah-day Tah-Iee (Favorite Boy) and the Ah-day Mah-tawn-shawn (Favorite Girl) during the Black Leggings Warrior Ceremony, lead the warriors and the war mothers during the dances. This is a position of great honor for a young person. The ah-day child will have their own cradleboard when they are an infant and they will have special buckskin outtfits made for them through life: they embody the family's pride, love, and honor. If perhaps an auntie does not have children, she can adopt one of her sister's children as her ah-day. Grandparents can also choose their own ah-day child. And though this practice may seem unfair to the other children within the family, I believe it has a very serious function in relationship to the fragility of life both in the past and the present. The ah-day is the child that might have a greater chance of living, of surviving the brutality of genocide. The ah-day becomes the beauty of life, a being to make beautiful things for, a being of hope in all that is beautiful in Kiowa life.
The form and design of this chair is imagined through a Kiowa woman's eyes. Parfleche painting on rawhide containers were Kiowa women's translations of the natural world into abstract design. The beadwork on this chair is inspired by these abstract paintings created by the women before me. The wondrous and unique cradleboards that Kiowa women continue to make for their children is inspiration for the spines, tack-work, and ornate beadwork. The hourglass shape that echoes throughout the chair is inspired from the graceful hourglass shaped bags that only Kiowa women wear on their belts. These functional bags were first used to hold flint and starter and later to hold ration slips from the US government for food. Today these bags are used to hold change for coffee and soda at our social dances. And finally, this Ah-day Chair is inspired by my son, this new generation of Ah-day for my family.
This chair has been created for all the Kiowa Ah-day's past and present. It is my humble prayer of hope and love for all that is beautiful in Kiowa life.
Teri Greeves, Kiowa, 2002
Collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, NY
Materials: Size 13 cut beads, brain-tanned deer hide, figured cherry wood, brass tacks
Dimensions: H: 38", W: 13", l: 19"
2002: Best In Division, Heard Museum Fair and Market, Phoenix, AZ
2002: Two Judges Choice Awards, Heard Museum Fair and Market, Phoenix, AZ
2002: Honorable Mention, Heard Museum Fair and Market, Phoenix, AZ