The project is designed to draw attention to the intersection of art and nature by featuring the nature-inspired work of regional artists, writers and poets.
Land of the Crooked Water is an exhibit of prints created by Western North Carolina artist/artisan Joshua Grant. Grant is a graduate of the Nantahala School of the Arts and the owner of Grant Custom Banjos where he puts his talent to work constructing handmade banjos from natural materials. Grants art has been featured in regional publications, art shows and galleries like Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center.
He spent the summer as art intern for the Southern Appalachian Office of the Wilderness Society with the intent of focusing on the Society’s “North Carolina Mountain Treasures.” The results of that focus will be on exhibit next Friday in the form of five prints, each representing a North Carolina Mountain Treasure. The five are: Joyce Kilmer – Slickrock Wilderness; Panthertown; Unicoi Mountains; Cheoah Bald and Tusquitee Bald. Grant worked with the Cherokee Language Studies program at Western Carolina University using the Cherokee Syllabary to incorporate names and/or descriptions of these treasures to help add to the sense of place that he gathered through scholarly study, conversation and personal visits to these wild places. The exhibit gets its name “Land of the Crooked Water” from a translation associated with Tusquitee Bald.
The prints are a combination of abstract and realist style. They were created using an innovative digital photo-polymer handprint process then transferred to a traditional hand press. The prints demonstrate the deep cultural and spiritual connections to these mountain treasures and seek to inspire a sense of duty to care for the Earth and its wild places.
Friday night’s program will detail the process Grant used to produce the prints plus talk about why these five places were chosen. Tom Belt, program coordinator of the Western Carolina University Cherokee Language Program, will speak at the reception about Cherokee cosmology and sense of place in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
A limited number of prints will be available for sale at the opening. The exhibit will be on display at City Lights Café through the month of September.
The Southern Appalachians are blessed with awe-inspiring topography, a landscape that bleeds with cultures lost and cultures preserved, and accomplished artists and artisans with the depth and breath of soul and talent to capture and express this deep and abiding sense of place.