Iris Ward Loughran

The following three bodies of work were made while I was a participant at Skowhegan school of Painting and Sculpture, where I did research on the 1724 massacre of Norridgewock. Now named Old Point, the land was originally home to an Indigenous village, and In 1694 father Sebastian Rasle, a French missionary, settled at there to establish a Jesuit Mission.  After a few quarrels, there was a bounty on father Rasle’s scalp and in August of 1724 British colonists massacred the community of Norridgewock.  There were survivors. They returned to bury their dead, but relocated to other parts of their land
The current land use of Old Point is split between private property and a cemetery, and is nestled between father rasle road and the Kennebec River. 
“no tresspassing on stolen land”,  2023, 35mm Photo

These are a series of six photographs of signs guarding land along Father Rasle road, just outside Madison Maine. 

Vista point, 2023, Modified steel street post. 

At one end of Old Point is a view of the Kennebec river that is owned and maintained by an man with a fruit and vegetable stand.  On his property has a barrier along the rivers edge and the road.  On my second visit to the site, I approached him if I could use the post for an art project, and that I would put it back. He agreed. 

I wanted the post to be returned having evidence of an unnatural occurrence. I wanted the memory of metal to show an unmistakably intentional wound. 

When I returned to reinstall the modified post, the landowner was a bit bamboozled, as he didn’t realize I was going to bring it back. I bought him a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. In my research, I read that British colonists would “trade” goods like rum for large swathes of land. The indigenous population, with different conceptions of land ownership thought they were allowing the British to use and pass though the land. I felt the exchange fitting, as I left saying “thank you for letting me use your property”.
“Meet me at Norridgewock (the cemetery gate)” 2023, Found cemetery gate, fire

In the cemetery there is a large 15 ft tall gated monument to Father Rasle, and an adjacent smaller monument that mentions Norridgewock. Leading up to the monument to Father Rasle, are rows and rows of headstones with European names. This gate was found discarded, leaning against the smaller monument.

To me this gate is a symbol of property and control of movement on stolen land. At first I wanted to minimize the gate through a crumpling gesture, then I thought about torturing the gate. I landed on scalping it. To scalp someone is used to have a piece of the body as a stand in for the whole thing, a sort of trophy. This object was also a sort of trophy to me. 
The smaller, more recent monument about 15 feet from a grand monument to Father Rasle  
How I found the gate  

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