Right To Remain(s)
13.25” x 7” x 9.50”
Xrays, frosted vellum, archival ink applied by hand
Native people are intrinsically tied to the land of their ancestors. Ancient oral traditional tells the Cherokee that the Creator placed us on the earth, in our mountain homeland. But we remain connected to the land in part because of our relationship to our ancestors who are buried there.
This piece comments on this relationship to our ancestors via their bones, specifically, how these bones gives us the right to claim our sense of belonging to our homeland and the right for our ancestors to remain in the earth and not housed in musuems and private collections. For this piece, the artist researched various quotes by Native people that speak of this sacred connection. These words were hand-written on vellum paper and along with the Xray’s, were cut into splints and woven together in a traditional Cherokee single-weave basketry technique. The pattern chosen for this basket is the mountain design; the shape of this lidded vessel is refered to as coffin-shaped.
Unlike other baskets by the artist, this piece was not created from archival materials; the expectation is that the film will darken and deteriorate over time, just as human remains return to dust after death. This degradation is part of the artistic statement.
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian Museum Collection