Kindred Vow by Marie T. Cochran is inspired by a photograph of unidentified children circa 1890 from the G. D. “Lon” Bruce Collection in the Special Collections & Archives of North Georgia College & State University.
Various components make up this multi-media installation piece.
Individual portraits of each child have been placed in the windows and on a wall. They can be viewed from many vantage points throughout the interior as well as from the exterior of the Library Technology Center. A monumental metal hand forms a gesture of offering and makes a symbolic reference to the song Grandma’s Hands by West Virginia singer-songwriter, Bill Withers.
Text has been presented on two long wall tapestries, which frame the overall composition.
The phrase in gold text is written in Cherokee syllabary. Pronunciation: [Diniyohli, Ul(a)sgedi Tsogatseliyi] “’Serious, they belong to, are treasured by, us.’ The ‘serious’ refers to a concept in our culture of great, deep meaning that would indicate a virtual sacred quality and of extreme importance. Therefore, great value!” –translation from Tom Belt, Cherokee elder.
The word in black text is African. uMunthu, Pronunciation: /u’bʊntu:/ oo-buun-too) is an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people’s allegiances and relations with each other. “I am what I am because of who we all are.” –translation from Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. The platform serves as the base for an assembly of natural materials and symbolic objects including an abstract form made of Georgia marble, which holds a 19th century banjo (collection of the artist).
The overall composition is meant to be seen as one artwork. The intention is to create a sacred space of contemplation that allows the viewer to consider the diverse connections between people of the Appalachian region: both past, present and future.
Many Thanks to my Fabrication Team
Sculptural elements – Anthony Reece, sculptor, Uniquely Metal, Athens, GA
Letterpress printing – Frank Brannon, SpeakEasy Press, Dillsboro, NC. Brannon is also an instructor with the Associate of Fine Arts Degree Program at Southwestern Community College, Sylva, NC. The program provides students the opportunity to experience a variety of studio topics with an emphasis on Cherokee art and cultural traditions.
Translation – Tom Belt, Elder-in-Residence, Cherokee Language Instructor, Cherokee Language Revitalization Project at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
Tapestry – Sylvia Earl, Seamstress, Gainesville, GA
Platform construction – Scott Lacey, Student, Department of Visual Arts, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA