Snapping Turtle Chair

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    Photo: Ron Lee/The Silver Factory
1992 - 1993
Steel, wood, carpet, stones, industrial sealing compound, enamel
39 x 34 x 36 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Fashioned in the likeness of a turtle, the chair evokes not only the well-known tale of the tortoise and the hare but also reminds us through its clever tide that "snapping" is one of the strategies used by turtles in the struggle to survive. Interestingly, however, the younger Dial's image also conjures up the tradition of verbal exchange of witty and caustic remarks known in African American culture as "playing the dozens," which is sometimes referred to as "snapping." With its neck extended and mouth wide open, Dial's snapping turtle could either be defending itself from a would-be predator or delivering a caustic remark. In this case, the naming of the piece clearly evokes the trickster tradition through reference to behavioral characteristics associated with this heroic type.