The objective of this artwork will be to raise issues with the representation of historical figures in mainstream film and the misassociation many viewers have between entertainment and history. For many viewers, film is their only exposure to certain historical topics and even more so their only visual access to much of (pre-photography) history. The goal of this artwork is both to engage in a dialog on representation in a visual arts context as well as a historical context. I want to audience to have a reawakened sense of inquisitiveness about the truth of the historical representations they are experiencing while watching film and television. - Liz Murphy-Thomas
One of the things you notice as an outsider when you move to Illinois is how seriously the state takes its Lincoln. I take my dog to the Lincolnland Animal Clinic, looked for used cars at Lincolnland Motors, and work at Lincolnland Community College. Lincoln was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and rose to prominence in Illinois. All these states are states where the fields, from a birds-eye-view, lay like a lush patchwork quilt. Lincoln must have been very fond of this land and he probably missed it when he moved to D.C. to be the president. I can imagine he might have put on his traveling coat and snuck down to the fields in Virginia, maybe taken off his shoes and felt the earth between his toes, and thought about the cornfields of Illinois. - Leslie Stalter
Stove Pipe Voodoo evokes an occidental approach, one in which the states, at the time of Lincoln’s passing, festered a deep-rooted bias against the Chinese laborers employed to finish the transcontinental railroad. In a climate infested with bigotry, oppression, and hate, the Chinese endured a fate commonly associated with the black slaves- the hatred of one race towards another fostered resentment and targeted racial slurs: “Their celestial squinty eyes, buckteeth, and pagan-toting idols” so different from the Christian ideals, fell prey to the Asian race of people.
So, it is fitting Stove Pipe Voodoo visually constructs an environment that honors as well as reveals a culture based on motifs, non-western spatial design and the fetish of horror vacui. Yes, the bullet sprayed Stove Pipe hat records the death of Lincoln while engaging historical inaccuracies passed over by lesser a topic. - Thomas Whalen