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The Rite of Polaris

Slip-Cast Porcelain, Kiln-formed & Etched Glass
6’H x 10’W x 7’’D

Celestial Navigation

Slip-cast porcelain and kiln-formed glass suggest a haunting narrative about the migration of hunter and hunted.

Imagine the sea turtle, guided across entire oceans by who knows what instinct, what atavistic memory, navigating by moon and stars, returning to its birthplace to complete a mating ritual millions of years old, only to run afoul of a turtler’s net and perish before ever seeing the beach it hatched on thirty years ago.

The mysterious navigation of these Green Sea Turtle ended (more often than not) in their destruction at the hands of my people, who perhaps used the same stars to traverse the ocean to the turtle-fishing grounds.

This installation was inspired by the turtling heritage of Caymanian fishermen, my ancestors as near back as my grandfather. Etched across the glass panels are diagrams of the constellations by which the turtles may have oriented themselves and the sailors plotted their courses; the models of turtle skulls lie (like so many casually tossed stones) along the bottom of a shallow sea. But, in the end we are forced to admit the inaccessibility of this narrative. Instead of facts or evidence, we have only sensory stimuli: light, shadow, the illusion of movement, but that is all.