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Alessandra Macfarlane

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

Water is everywhere in New Orleans, above us, below us, in the very air we breathe. We look up at passing ships. Growing up in coastal Alabama, the river would come up across the fields and go back down again, invade our yards and mysteriously leave again. This familiar ebb and flow marked the cycles of my early life. Even now, when I have dreams of flying, I am always in a boat.

In mythology, boats were vessels for transporting the spirit or the soul. The Vikings’ longboats carried the fallen warrior to the god realm of Odin, just as the soul ships of Irian Java performed a similar funerary function. The nobles of ancient Egypt crossed the seas of the afterlife in barques. Boats are powerful symbols of transcendence. I am also intrigued by the more intimate forms and personal qualities of expression found in handcrafted vessels such as pirogues, canoes and dugouts. My own boats are vessels of the psyche, instruments for navigating the inner world.

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