Marie Watt: Earthmover

Laumier Sculpture Park , September 22, 2021

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Born to the son of Wyoming ranchers and a daughter of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation (Iroquois/Haudenosaunee), Watt identifies herself as “half Cowboy and half Indian.” Watt’s Earthmover, 2014, commemorates the tools for the movement of earth to create the great mounds at Cahokia. The two sculptural elements that make up Earthmover are inspired by the human agency for the displacement of earth as ritual. A partially buried, recycled mega-mining tire creates a monumental rubber archway.


It is believed that the Cahokians hauled 50–60 pounds of earth at a time to mound construction sites. In sharp contrast, the work also includes a stool, an inverted bronze cast of a burden basket, used by the laborers at Cahokia, designed as a resting spot. Burden baskets were shaped to conform to the back of the bearer; a strap was attached that looped from the bottom of the basket around the wearer’s forehead to help support the heavy load.

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