Holly Wilson-Gathering

When I was young we lived on a mountain in Cherokee, NC, my father taught at the Indian School for several years. My memories have no words from that time just images, some of running the woods, others of going up and down the winding stairs to go to school. The “Gathering” is my interpretation of that part of my life; my coming home to the place and to the people I am a part of.

The wood is from a Locust tree. It is cut lengthwise; it exposes the rough center of the tree and the lines, the lines of the tree show its history. This wood is cut on the angle to be the mountain I lived upon, and the mountain we all climb during life.

When “Gathering” is hung the light cast’s shadows of the figures on the wall, these shadows represent for me memories. Memories cannot be held they have no words, and in the end we are all only a shadow in history, shadows on this earth.

I used my Cigar Figures to represent my family in “Gathering”. These 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 and my present.

Bronze, Patina and Locust Wood
28” x 16.5” x 5.5”, 2015

Available Through the Studio

Exhibition History

  • Return to Exile, traveling exhibition, various venues (August 2015-May 2018)
  • The Museum of the Southeast American Indian, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, (January 8 – May 12, 2018)
  • Fine Art Museum, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, (August  21 – December 8, 2017)
  • Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, (June 2-August 20, 2017)
  • AHHA – Hardesty Arts Center, co-sponsored with Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma (October 1-November 20, 2016)
  • John Brown University Galleries, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, (August 30-September 23, 2016)
  • Dr. J.W. Wiggins Gallery, Sequoyah National Research Center, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas (February 4-May 6, 2016)
  • Collier County Museums, Naples, Florida, (October 15, 2015-January 15, 2016)

Holly Wilson-Gathering-Detail