This work was completed during a four-week residency at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, New York, USA. Stone Quarry Hill Art Park is a sculpture park with 104 acres of conserved land and over four miles of trails overlooking the breathtaking rural landscape of Cazenovia and Madison County, New York. Inspired by the relationship between art and nature, the Art Park is dedicated to providing a unique environment for the showcasing of art by emerging and established artists in natural and gallery settings. Its mission is to educate and engage the public through exhibitions, collections, interpretation, and community outreach programs in the arts. They offer four residencies a year and the artists stay in the artists lodge on the edge of the park. The Park was founded by Dorothy and Bob Riester in 1993.
On my arrival I read Art and the Land, written by Dorothy Riester about the creating of SQHAP. As I had just spent the past year establishing Stiwdio Maelor, reading the story of another artist doing something similar really resonated. The book told the history of the land since its boundaries were established in 1793 by Col. John Lincklaen. Sadly, the history of the area’s original inhabitants was reduced to: a few Indian tribes camped on the land. As my work is about indigenous languages, I decided to create a work that told the story of Stone Quarry Hill, including it’s history prior to white man settlement.
Using a book – Trends in Linguistics, edited by Marienel Gerritsen and Dieter Stein in 1992, I made a found poem in Onondaga (one of the original languages of the area), which followed Dorothy’s story. I created images that highlighted elements of Dorothy’s story (the arriving at the land, visions for the future, creating the park, the building of the road, and the remembering).
The drypoint prints were made in Cazenovia College print department, which was a wonderful two mile work though woodlands each day.
It hill rises, extending along it stream stands forth
The next day she came, she it saw there it lay
(s)he planted it
all of which had been thither
At that now they noticed
as I remember so much as I have lived
I was able to meet with Dorothy who has now moved into supported accommodation. Dorothy was turning 99 years old just after I met her, but was still planning the future of the Art Park, purchasing more adjoining land, making sculptures on her porch and waiting for that golden moment in the afternoon when the chardonnay could be offered to guests (something I appreciated as an Australian chardonnay drinker!).
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