Presented by The Center's 2017 Creatives in Residence
The Center's 2017 Creatives in Residence present
Artist Talk with Anna Tsouhlarakis
Tuesday, July 11 6-7PM
Washington, DC artist Anna Tsouhlarakis is currently installing her sculpture, Edges of Her, in The Center Park as part of The Center's 2017 Creatives in Residence ongoing exhibition, Observatories. Ms. Tsouhlarakis will share insight about her latest sculpture during an artist talk on Tuesday, July 11 from 6-7PM in the Conference Room at The Center.
Edges of Her
On exhibit in The Center Park - Summer 2017
Edges of Her reflects on Native interpretations of eclipses and relationships found in the sky. Some tribes believe eclipses are a sign of renewal while others see them as a time of restraint. Certain protocol comes into play but as times have changed, Native ideas and traditions have also evolved. What has stayed constant is the belief that eclipses hold power and significance. Spatial constructions of reality and legend are created and converge at moments of pause where text and object illustrate a selection of Indigenous metaphysical insight. The materials suggest a hindered return to the natural while the palette subtly evokes the industrial.
Numerous Native Americans from various areas and families were informally surveyed about their beliefs and their thoughts related to eclipses, the sun, the moon and the stars. After “collecting data”, the findings were merged into a large sculptural installation. This installation exemplifies a unique look at Native identity by combining a quasi-scientific survey with the very real and historic role of oral traditions. In addition to exploring Native identity, the intersection of oral and written histories and the transition of narratives into text on an ephemeral object are considered.
The sculpture itself is comprised of two major components: reclaimed wood and aluminum signage. Almost all of the wood is from my family’s land on the Navajo reservation. It is all discarded wood from rundown houses, fences and corrals. There are some pieces that are nearly a hundred years old and were hand cut and formed by my great-grandfather and other family members. The wood represents an older way of thinking, a traditional way of life and a time before modern technology. In contrast, the signage is manufactured, hard and multi-colored. It is the present, an object with limited history.
The layout of the wooden structure is an archetypal form—a spiral. At the center of the spiral is an area with an obstructed view. The scraps of wood and other found materials suggest that this is not a space the viewer can access. Is this structure a form of shelter from the sky or a viewing platform?
All of the responses from the survey were reordered according to their level of positive, negative or neutral responses. Some offer fact and some offer feelings. Passages from the responses were taken and assigned to corresponding signs placed along the spiral to create a near narrative of musings about eclipses and the sky.