“GATHERING” by Holly Wilson apart of the traveling exhibition “Return From Exile”

Holly Wilson-Gathering-Detail
Holly Wilson-Gathering
GATHERING, Bronze, Patina and Locust Wood 28” x 16.5” x 5.5”, 2015

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

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.


This piece is apart of the traveling exhibition “Return From Exile”


• October 15, 2015-January 15, 2016: Collier County Museums, Naples, Florida


• February 4-May 6, 2016: Dr. J.W. Wiggins Gallery, Sequoyah National Research Center, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas

August 30-September 23, 2016: John Brown University Galleries, Siloam Springs, Arkansas

• October 1-November 20, 2016: AHHA – Hardesty Arts Center, co-sponsored with Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma

• June 2-August 20, 2017: Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, Oklahoma