NSU features Cherokee artist Troy Jackson
Cherokee Nation citizen and artist Troy Jackson talks with attendees at a reception of his art exhibit titled “The Arrival” at Northeastern State University’s John Vaughan Library on April 5 in Tahlequah. The exhibit is expected to run through May 4. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
“The Arrival” is one of 10 sculptures on display at Northeastern State University’s John Vaughan Library showcasing the works of Cherokee Nation citizen and artist Troy Jackson. The exhibit, in conjunction with NSU’s Symposium on the American Indian, runs through May 4. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A close-up of the sculpture “Exodus” shows gears, cogs and fish as part of Cherokee Nation citizen and artist Troy Jackson’s intent to mix industry and nature in his work. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University’s John Vaughan Library Special Collections is displaying the works of Cherokee Nation citizen and award-wining artist Troy Jackson in an exhibit called “The Arrival” that runs April 5 to May 4.
During an April 5 reception, the public was invited to view Jackson’s work and speak with the artist.
“I’m honored to have him here. We try to make it a point to be a cultural destination and really represent culture in the area and the Cherokee people. So certainly having Mr. Jackson’s art on display here is an honor for us but it’s also in line with our mission,” NSU Director of Libraries Steven Edscorn said.
Edscorn added that NSU’s library is a “cultural repository” and the Special Collections focuses on American Indian studies and history, specifically on the tribes of Oklahoma.
Jackson, a NSU alumnus, began his love for art as a child with the ambition to become a painter. While in college in 1977, he was inspired by a ceramics class to learn pottery. It wasn’t until 2010 that he began to sculpt.
Jackson said his sculptures contain layers of meaning from the materials to the designs used in his work. Most of his sculptures, including those in the library, are made of steel and clay.
“The reason I do that is because they really don’t like each other. In today’s society it seems like we’re always mixing things. Everything is being mixed together. So when we mix two things together that doesn’t seem to fit, we have to find a way to make them fit. And that’s why I use the steel and clay,” Jackson said.
In designing a piece, Jackson incorporates his Cherokee roots and the ideology of mixing nature and industry. For example, he uses gears, cogs and fish all in one piece.
“My future intentions are to introduce the irony of our strengths and weaknesses in a mixed Native American and European culture,” Jackson said. “Gears and cogs represent the Industrial Revolution that developed during the 19th century. The fish are symbolic of nature in its abundance and how important it was for the early American Indians survival. The irony is that for us today, machinery and technology are needed to help preserve a natural environment that was once self-contained.”
Jackson, a full-time artist, is also a former educator, teaching classes at the University of Arkansas during his assistantship for graduate school and as an adjunct instructor for NSU and Bacone College in Muskogee. He also is on the Cherokee Arts Center advisory board in Tahlequah.
“The Arrival,” located on the first floor of the library, runs in conjunction with NSU’s Symposium on the American Indian. For more information call 918-316-0187.