Potts Artist Statement (Totem series)
researching my family's
history, I began to realize the strength of character and soul to which
I was born. Discovering this history has played
a large part in my realizing who I am. My
work reflects my new found pride in myself and my family.
Totem series is a group of works of pole forms that are different heights
use various media such as clay, metal, paper and wood to construct
these forms. To reveal my identity, I print family photographs and
documentation of their history onto the forms. The faces and lives of
my family, or
people of my heritage, represent the standards to which I live my life.
Totem Poles of the Native American peoples of the Pacific Northwest
were used to tell stories, pay tribute and honor their families
I use these
forms in the same way. I refer to these structures as totems because
of what they represent. I print transfers or photocopies of family
photographs as well as maps, land deeds, marriage licenses and other
types of documents onto
them that tell the story of my family.
I present my identity and heritage by showing this
group of work in an installation with sounds and voices of my surroundings in
two together create
a visual sound environment. This installation is set up so the viewers
have to walk around and through the totems to view them individually
of my ancestors.
This installation allows for two perceptions. Firstly,
the viewer is allowed to see and experience my journey to self-discovery. They
the history as I do, but they do see the immense history which I
have to look back to for strength. Secondly, I am allowed to see their perception
and family as opposed to how I perceive it to be. This allows for
and discussion with the viewer that other installations may not.
My work is a product of overcoming the fear of facing the self-discovery
that life demands of us. I realize that a crucial part of being content
in life is
to discover where our values and strength originate. Discovery of
who you are and why leads to knowledge and power.
Click here to view the Totem series