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Across the eastern half of the United States one may still find the remnants, often of impressive size, of thousands of earth mounds made by Native American peoples as long ago as 1000 years before the time of Christ. A whole series of energetic cultures such as the Adena, the Hopewell and the Mississippian built such mounds to bury their leading dead and as platforms for temples and chief’s houses. Something of the spirit of these people resonates, even today, at these ancient mound sites.
In my art I have responded not only to the spiritual qualities of these people but also to the formal properties of their inventive art styles as well, borrowing motifs and patterns from a range of prehistoric eastern and southeastern cultures.
This work reflects the great importance the plant world had for Native American peoples. Plants were one of the three great categories of non-spiritual beings, the others being humans and animals. While humans and animals were essentially opposed to each other, with animals capable of causing diseases in people, plants were the friends of man, supplying dozens of foods and hundreds of medicines for human use. Indeed, the Cherokee believed that every plant provided a cure for some ailment, and it was up to man to discover what the plant was good for. Some eastern tribes knew of uses for over 500 kinds of plants in their environment.The azalea shows its beautiful flowers in woods across the southeast, and this print depicts the spirit of azalea in both human and flower form.