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Few people regularly consider the history of the land where they do their grocery shopping, get gas or pick up dinner. What came before, though, serves as inspiration for Michael Sherwin, an associate professor of art in West Virginia University’s School of Art and Design, whose new book, Vanishing Points," is due to be released on July 6.
Nearly 10 years ago, Sherwin learned the Suncrest Towne Centre in Morgantown was built on an 800-year-old Indigenous burial ground and village site associated with the Monongahelan culture. That discovery motivated him to seek out other lost historical sites across the U.S. for the photography project that is now a book. In it, images of sacred landforms, earthworks and documented archaeological locations are used alongside stills of collected site objects and debris. Sherwin is one of the authors providing supplemental essays.
Quotes and comments
“This work can promote awareness of Indigenous land rights and the importance of protecting cultural and historical sacred sites. Spending time with these images may encourage one to reconsider their own physical presence in this country and the ancestry of the land they live and work on.
“I hope this work will connect with those who believe that this land and our planet are all we really know. Living with greater respect for all life and cultures can promote a better community and help build a place where we can all belong,” — Michael Sherwin, WVU associate professor and creator of “Vanishing Points”
CONTACT: Bernadette Dombrowski
College of Creative Arts
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