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Moki Sakwa is a take off from the Hopi Indian tribe burial cemetery. The Hopi had very little written language, however, the word moki means dead, and sakwa means sky dance. The Hopi tribe along with other Indian tribes would place the deceased above ground on horizonal platforms. The bodies would be wrapped and placed looking upward. Hence, after death the spirit would rise or transcend to the heavens above. Since I am very concerned with the element of line in design with geometry, this sculpture represents the holding of the body to Earth, using twine, as the spirit journeys to the heavens. This technique was used by me many years ago and I have decided to practice its visual use again. This sculpture is mainly painted aluminum on a granite base (4Wx6Dx14.75H).
Thank you.
Dennis A. Dezmain

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Comment by Resident Curator on February 8, 2023 at 12:26pm

Curator’s Comments:

Wow!  This is another interesting departure from your geometry-based sculptures.  While this new piece shares some of the spatial properties of your linearly oriented constructions with cantilevered  arms, the aesthetic relationships are much more explicit, and pull away from purely formal concerns.  Your accompanying description helps to contextualize the figural and transitional elements in Moki Sakwa.  The ladder-like rungs also assist in slowing down the vertical movement within the piece, and offer textural variants within the Hopi narrative.  I appreciate the contrasting surfaces of organic materials, from the bundled twine to the polished granite platform. Even without benefit of spiritually symbolic associations described your statement, I see a hierarchy to the surface manipulations, moving from impermanent/fragile materials down to the most enduring stable stone base.  The color treatment at the bottom of the “legs” for me is the most revealing of the cultural inspiration, and is reminiscent of a Kachina doll. I wonder if you are planning a new conceptual path in your work, as this piece is directly grounded in a specific religious and cultural practice. I had always classified your work as Modernist, with a universal approach to physical geometry and kinetic space.  It now sounds as though something quite different came before.

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