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Creation Date

2018

Description

Materials: Pine Wood

Dimensions: 3 x 9 x 10 feet

Project Advisor: Rob Neilson

Year of Graduation: 2018

Medium

Sculpture

Artist Statement

Representation in all aspects of public life matters to those who go through life marginalized. One of my main inspirations for this piece is where I come from; where I was born, and where my ancestors were born. I want to bring my Indigenous Mayan ancestry into the contemporary dialogue of today. I can trace my ancestry back to the Tz’utujil tribe in Guatemala.

“La Monja Blanca” or the White Nun Orchid is the national flower of Guatemala. It has certain qualities that I wanted to accentuate when making it at such a large scale. This flower carries a lot of characteristics that I see as relatable. It is an epiphyte flower which means that while it does grow on other plants, mostly trees, it does not hurt their growth and grows in harmony with the other plant. It is also a hermaphroditic flower which means it is able to self-fertilize and only needs the help of a specific fungus to germinate. Something else about this flower is it takes 15 years to flower and only blooms from the months of December to February. It is also known as the albino version of the pink Lycaste skinneri and is a very rare flower only found in certain regions of Guatemala.

The process of making this flower was time consuming but rewarding. I hand carved each petal from sheets of pine wood board that I glued together to make a thick block. I proceeded to shape each block and then chiseled and grinded away at that block until I reached the shape I desired. Each petal was oiled to the color of my liking to create the look of depth in the flower. I wanted the look of petal to be reminiscent of the hand carved masks and tables you can find in any Guatemalan market.

The idea of identity has interested me much throughout my time at Lawrence. I am very drawn to the weaving done by Indigenous Mayan women who still to this day wear dresses called “huipiles”, which depending on your tribe, have different distinctive patterns on them. Weaving is something very integral to Mayan women’s lives, and this skill is passed on from generation to generation. I mention the huipiles because the act of showcasing ones identity with pride is something I want to touch on with my piece.

As an ode to my ancestors and with great pride I hand carved the flower to symbolize the deep connection I feel to a beautiful culture that still survives today. At its heart this piece and through the process of making it, I want to commemorate the Indigenous women who I will never know, but contribute to the success of our culture and to those who thrive today above all odds.

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Copyright for this work is held by the artist.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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