Kay WalkingStick, the fourth artist featured in our blog series, is an American landscape painter and print maker. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, WalkingStick often makes artwork inspired by her indigenous ancestry. After being raised in a White community by her mother, WalkingStick chose to explore her father’s Cherokee heritage through historical research as a working artist. She uses realism and abstraction combined to reinterpret histories of Native Americans, often placing landscapes in juxtaposition with abstracted scenes to represent the duality of her experiences.
After a trip to Italy in 2003, WalkingStick began to use figural silhouettes in her abstractions to convey a simplified meaning of the human form. This print was created in 2004 during her residency at the Experimental Printmaking Institute. WalkingStick crops two bodies at the waist and suspends their legs above planes of green and blue with dense plantlike patterns. The title, il sogno del cortile, translates from Italian to “The Dream of the Courtyard.” Given the unique contortion of their legs and the colorful location, it is possible they are a dancing couple in a fanciful garden. As WalkingStick explains, her art is not only a means of connecting to her own past, but to a shared global humanity.
-AnnaLivia McCarthy is an undergraduate intern at Museums.