Bronze, Patina and Locust Wood
29″ x 22′ x 9″, 2015
Bonner David Galleries
It is the stories of family; history and identity that are what brought me to the piece “Bloodline”. It is a 22-foot long trail of history; where I came from as far back as I could trace my Native American bloodline to date. To be “on the Rolls” as an American Indian you have to prove a quantum of blood and trace that back through birth and death records until you match up to a name on the official “Dawes Rolls”. As I began walking backwards through the past to prove my blood, with the names and some faces I wanted to hear them speak and tell their story. I wanted them to be counted.
A storm took an old Locust tree down and that is the base for the figures to walk across. The tree is cut lengthwise so it exposes the rough center of the tree and the lines, the lines of the tree to show its history. I de-barked the exterior but kept the curve of the tree and its raw surface. The curve is mounted to the wall; the figures stand upon the top outer edge.
There are sections for each generation. The beginning section is with my own children. Though I only have 2 there are 5 figures. Each life is counted and the children that did not survive are remembered with a place on the wood in history their forms small and their heads bowed. From that I have my own section with my sisters and brother and then weave back and forth between my mother and fathers history. When hung the light casts a shadow of the figures on the wall, this shadow cast on the wall represents for me memory. Like a shadow these memories cannot be held, and in the end we are all only a shadow in history, shadows on this earth.
The Cigar Figures come from a Native American story of my childhood that my mother told of the “Stick People”. The “Stick People” would run through the night and call your name, she never described the figures and I was drawn to the idea of what they looked like for most of my life. The Cigar Figures are my reimagining of that story, now a story of family and my past. The figures are made of real cigars and found sticks. I create molds of the cigars and then cast them and the sticks in bronze. The faces are of the people from my past as far back as I can trace.