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CHC unveils stickball sculpture for museum
"Resurgence,” a sculpture created by Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief sits behind curtains waiting to be unveiled Feb. 25 at the Cherokee Heritage Center. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
By WILL CHAVEZ
Mon, Feb 28, 2011
PARK HILL, Okla. – “Resurgence,” a sculpture created by Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief was unveiled Feb. 25 at the Cherokee Heritage Center.
The bronze piece, on permanent display in the CHC museum atrium, represents “the Cherokee people’s ability to overcome adversity with pride and integrity,” according to a Cherokee Nation Enterprises statement.
CNE funded the statue at a cost of $30,000 using funds allocated by the Cherokee Art and Facilities Act of 2006, which states 1 percent of total construction and renovation costs to Cherokee Nation facilities must be used in purchasing authentic artwork made by Cherokee citizens.
Cherokee National Historical Society Executive Director Carey Tilley said the idea for the statue was planted two years ago when CNE funded renovations for the CHC atrium and gift shop.
“We thought about the need for a signature piece in here and how powerful it would be. They (CNE) agreed they wanted to invest in a sculpture,” he said.
HorseChief submitted the winning design, which was based on a 4-inch-by-6-inch version of a sculpture he entered in the 2010 Trail of Tears Art Show.
HorseChief said the late Jerome Tiger, a Muscogee Creek artist, inspired “Resurgence.”
“When I was a boy, I would go to the museum at Muskogee and see his unfinished piece. It was his only three-dimensional piece. It really just struck me. I guess it stayed with me all these years,” he said. “To me it represented a certain power, a resurgence, you know, an integrity you associate with Native people.”
The stickball player in HorseChief’s piece is 5 feet tall. The pedestal adds another 6-1/2 feet. He said it took him almost a year to complete it.
He said at the base are leaves representing wind and the flow of time and history.
“It (base) lifts the figure up in an almost exaggerated pose, and he’s literally going for a goal. He’s being lifted up and being helped,” HorseChief said. “I put a style of old clothing on him mixed with new designs from different periods.”
He said he loves history and how things that happened in the past influences what happens today.
“Time isn’t really a factor. To me it’s like a perfect opportunity to show all of that, to show the resurgence of not just Cherokee people, but all Native people. I wanted people to look at it and be able to indentify with it, not just Native people, but all people, to see this figure reaching for his goal, literally, with integrity,” HorseChief said.
A wolf tail protrudes from behind the figure. On the tail are hawk feathers, while an eagle feather is attached to the stickball player’s hair.
“I wanted to show the closeness we have to all creation. We are all inter-connected. I wanted to show how important that is to Native people,” HorseChief said.
Designs for the belt the figure wears on his waist was inspired by HorseChief’s appreciation of Cherokee pottery. He said he used ancient mound builder designs normally used by Cherokee potters for the belt to show the connection Cherokee people have with that culture.
The necklace the figure wears is a cross that was created using fire and was worn when the artist played stickball. The sticks are long like the ones used by ancient Cherokee players and have a unique design because each player had his way of designing sticks, HorseChief said.
He said it means much to him to have the piece at the CHC because as a young man he often came to the museum when relatives entered art shows. His mother is noted Cherokee artist Mary Adair.
“I always wanted to be able someday to have a piece in a show. That meant a lot to me the first time I entered a piece to have it accepted in the show,” he said. “I grew up here. This place means a lot to me. I’m a part of this place.”