Saturday, November 11, 2006

A (Modest ) Proposal

To borrow a title from Jonathan Swift. But I won't be proposing a shocking way to abate Irish poverty here! I am submitting a proposal for an art installation in Tacoma. There, an arts organization, TACO, sponsors installations in the old Woolworth's display windows. The building itself is now occupied by the local transit authority. But the cool display windows face three streets in downtown Tacoma, in the heart of the historic Theater District.

My proposal is to install five large (life-sized) figures made of driftwood branches and roots, with heads carved from cottonwood bark. The figures would represent the spirits of my ancestors - similar to the effigees that used to be placed at the Eskimo burial grounds through out western Alaska. Traditionally, the figures represented the departed, and were outfitted with the dead person's tools of trade: cooking pots, harpoons, bow and arrows, shaman's regalia, clothing, toys. While these grave yard figures no longer exist in Alaska, there are wonderful photos of them in the Smithsonian Collection, among others. (see this website for examples - Taos Blue)

Go to my Flickr photo album, in the Artworks Masks set, to see the 15 photos that I'm submitting with my proposal. This is just an example of my work - it won't be the pieces for the installation. I'll be making five new large figures: a hunter, a dancer, a drummer, a shaman, and a child. The proposals are due Nov. 20 - and the artists are supposed to be notified in December whether they get accepted. There are five windows, and installations will be up for 8 weeks. There are several rounds of installations on display over the year. Wish me luck!

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