Twins, The Soul and The Spirit, 12" x 8" each, 2007Twins, The Soul and The Spirit, 12″ x 8″ each, 2007


As with other “tree figures”, The Family sculptures were first found torn to the ground by wind storms, heavy snows, or human pruning. Instantly I recognized them as dancers in arrested motion. Some were singular, some were composite, their upsurging arms bursting forth with new life.

As they lay at my feet, wrenched from their mother trees, I was moved by their inviolable wholeness, deep beauty, and royal grace under pressure.  When I brought them into my garden and studio, they compelled me to give each one further heft and fullness.  As they transformed and gained wholeness, so did I.

These figures are strongly African in spirit, springing from my longtime study of the dance and the drum both in Colorado and in Guinea, West Africa. They represent elders, mothers, daughters, sisters, twins, and families. They sing of earth and spirit, the four elements, and the starry heavens. Their dance is about strength and resilience in the face of human sufferings and unthinkable human nightmares.

The Family sculptures speak to collective tragedy of genocide that continues, from the ancients to the present. May these ceremonial dancers give courage and healing energy to all those wounded by genocide : the ancestors, the living, and those yet to come. May they express the dignity of the human spirit under the most grisly of circumstances. May they compel us to listen, and to try to understand one another ~ so as to stop the senseless violence of humans against humans.

The Mother Tree is watching.

Her roots grow deep.

She has sent her many Tree Children

To teach peace, love and respect.


Medium: Tree branches, paper clay, acrylic paint.