ARTinACTION is an artist-in-residence program for post-Katrina Louisiana that effectively uses art as a creative, rehabilitative tool. Invited artists are encouraged work on-site and with local communities that are still struggling to recover from the ravages of the hurricane’s devastation. Says Director Elizabeth Underwood, “The ARTinACTION context creates a very real ‘aesthetic eco-system’ in partnership with the land and community of each site.” Today (July 26) is the unveiling of ARTinACTION’s most recent installation, Field Guide, by artist Jacqueline Bishop. We wanted to give you a closer look at just one example of how this part of Louisiana is imaginatively rebuilding itself.
Bishop set out to emblazon the driveway of the Milne Boys Home (where Louis Armstrong first learned to play the cornet) with the shadows of some of the approximately 450 bird species of Louisiana. One of the things the artist noticed in the days following the hurricane was the birdless silence. She seeks now to draw attention to birds as vital elements of the ecosystem, as pollinators and songmakers. She was joined by a mass of 25 volunteers for nine full days of stenciling.
The stream of about 5000 bird-shadows begins and ends with hummingbirds, considered by the Biloxi Native American tribe to be a symbol of truth. Field Guide makes evident the web of interconnected groups affected by Katrina in realizing the shadowed death of its local birds, seed-carriers and fact-bearers.