Courtesy: Charles Rencountre

Not Afraid to Look

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Charles Rencountre

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, in the front left courtyard, 108 Cathedral Pl, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501
Date:  2014
Placement:  museums
Collection:  Museum of Contemporary Native Art
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  metal, concrete
Description:  Artists Statement Not Afraid to Look As an artist, I am interested in what we, as “one people” sharing the same planet, should not be afraid to look at. From corporate super powers, environmental crises, the proliferation of GMOs and wars, to just looking at how to be a better human being to the person standing next to you at any given moment, are things we should strive to not be afraid tok at.

The concept of not being afraid to look was inspired by an old trade pipe; ironically, the trade pipe was in the personal collection of President Andrew Jackson. The pipe depicted a small Indian man sitting on the shank of the pipe facing away from the smoker, looking straight at the bowl. The bowl of the pipe was carved as the head of a white man facing the small-seated Indian man. The pipe was titled Not Afraid to Look the Whiteman in the Face.

I was deeply taken by the concept the pipe represented; the facing, without fear, a force that was taking everything from this little mans world and destroying all that he knew about the natural world. Know matter how hard I try; I cannot get my head around how devastating this period in time was to American indigenous peoples and everything they stood for and understood.

I have always enjoyed the process of just building things, not really planning just getting to work on it. When I started Not Afraid to Look I had never attempted anything that large, I didn’t know how to run a welder no more than I knew how to design such a big project. All I really had was a need to build something from a very small scale into a monumental scale sculpture. Even though the original was only maybe two inches high, its message was monumental and therefor I knew I had to make it into a monumental scale piece of sculpture to remind all of us to face our fears straight on. As the concept behind this piece as I see it, is critically needed in our time, some form of this work/piece/ symbology will be worked like a morphing series, for future projects.

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