Watching the footage from some of the photographers at the Standing Rock camps, I would see this sculpture sometimes and wonder about it. Who made it? How did it get there? How big is it? What is it made out of?
I did a little research to find out some of these answers. The sculpture is titled Not Afraid to Look the White Man in the Face. The artist who created the sculpture is Charles Recountre He is of Lakota heritage but now lives in New Mexico, where he made a similar piece that resides in Santa Fe.
The sculpture at Standing Rock, which sits on the edge of the hill overlooking Lake Oahe and the Cannon Ball River on the now evicted Sacred Stones camp, was completed in October 2016. News resources say that Recountre with the help of people at camp worked from sun up to sun down for 30 days to complete the piece. It was constructed from rebar and cement then painted a rich adobe red.
As I searched for photos of the sculpture, I started thinking about the significance of the title and how it related to me as a white woman. Thoughts that ran through my head were:
• If I looked at myself as a white woman in the mirror, what would I see?
• If I considered myself part of the collective “we” as a white immigrant who came and took the land from these people, how do I respond?
• In relation to my last post about not turning away from sin, how does not being afraid to look echo those same thoughts?
One of the photos I found (the top one with the closeup view of the sculpture from behind) had me envisioning myself as the sculpture with someone behind me taking the photo. Maybe that someone also had their hands on my shoulder in reassurance. Maybe that someone is God giving me the courage to not just look but see.
If I sit here for a time in silence pondering those thoughts, how does it change the way I think, feel, see?
Last spring a little corner of our dining room evolved into a sort of prayer corner for me. Yesterday I printed out that photo of Not Afraid to Look and added it to the corner. I feel like it has more to tell me.
Credit for above photos: http://www.facebook.com/NotAfraidtoLookatStandingRock/
Interview with the Artist: http://greenfiretimes.com/2017/01/not-afraid-to-look/
Not Afraid to Look Sculpture in Santa Fe, New Mexico: http://www.publicartarchive.org/work/not-afraid-look