New monumental sculpture is located on Eastside Trail in front of Ponce City Market
As part of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, a new monumental work of art is now installed on the highly-trafficked Eastside Trail in front of Ponce City Market. The first major sculpture by artist Chase Kahwinhut Earles, Naw’-tsiʔ: Bear Effigy Vessel is a representation, on a massive scale, of Caddo effigy pottery that was used in ancient times for ceremony and ritual. It is the first monument of its kind created by an Indigenous artist in Atlanta since the Indian Removal Act of the 1820s.
From 800 AD to the 1700’s, Caddo pottery was a grand and widespread tradition, known for its thin ceramics, intricate designs, and effigy vessels, that was traded around North America and as far as France and Spain. Nearly all of the ceramics were used at the end of their lives as burial offerings and, therefore, are not put on display for public viewing. Knowledge of this great cultural history disappeared as the Caddo tribe consolidated and was decimated from conquistadors’ diseases and colonialism. The last Caddo potter, a matriarch of the tribe’s namesake, stopped making pottery around 1908 and the tradition was almost lost. Under the guidance of the only living Caddo pottery revivalist, Earles has made it his mission to help revive this traditional art form, and today, his contemporary work can be found in many museums and cultural institutions.
“What motivates me and challenges me to push the limits of describing our culture in my pottery art is the desire to truly educate people about what sets our tribe’s tradition apart from all the other Southeastern tribes and to reveal to people the extent of which the Caddo’s tradition was cherished by everyone across the nation in prehistoric and historic times,” said Chase Earles.
“We’re honored to display Earles’ artistry and his tribe’s rich heritage on the Atlanta BeltLine, on land originally stewarded by Indigenous people,” said Nonet Sykes, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer for Atlanta BeltLine. Inc. “The Naw’-tsiʔ: Bear Effigy Vessel offers us all an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of cultures in our city and in our history.”
Earles will host an artist talk on site on December 10, 2022, at 3 p.m. Please visit art.beltline.org/events for details.
For additional information on the project and the artist, visit Earles’ profile on art.beltline.org.
The 2022 – 2023 Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibition is presented by Northside Hospital. Additional sponsors include Ponce City Market at the Platinum level; Cox Enterprises and Empire Communities at the Silver level; and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at the Bronze level. This program is supported in part by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Major funding for this organization is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. This program is supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.