"The American Beech Tree stands witness to events across the woodlands and streams of the south eastern United States. They stand as unspeaking witnesses to sunlit mornings, lashing storms, nocturnal secrets, birth, death and historic occasions of celebration and despair. Voices from the past still speak through the bark of these trees.
.... Carved images holding vital information and historical memory....
........messages spanning the revolutionary war, the trail of tears, the war between the states and up to the present day... Soon these voices will be silenced and their messages lost. Due to a natural end of lifespan, clear-cutting, acid rain, storms and their status as a non-timber "trash tree", there is a very little time left to listen and document these "Witness Trees". Today's remaining arborglyphs are not only historical artifacts and national treasures, but are art forms from the cherokees, creek confederacy, nameless soldiers, settlers and other travelers on the trails of our past, who left no other visible legacy.
When the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, the Southeastern American Indians were faced with, "pack what you can carry, gotta' leave the rest." In some cases, this notice was only a few days or hours. Historically, the trees along the rivers and streams stood as silent sentinel witnesses, to sunlit mornings, lashing storms, nocturnal secrets, birth, death, and occasions of celebration and despair. At the time of removal, "Arborglyphs," hastily carved into Beech trees, marked vital travel information like escape routes or spots where possessions were buried. Today, nearly all these markings have been destroyed by timbering and natural life spans, only a few remain. Eric Mofford and Sandy Corley, have just started production on this exciting documentary film, "Witness Trees."
The Pyramid of Lights Project
Sandy Corley and Eric Mofford
(Talent Agency/Events Producer/Presenter)
1985 – 1998
The PYRAMID OF LIGHTS PROJECT develops and presents Southeastern American Indian performing and visual artists. It produces and showcases the talents of contemporary as well as traditional artists.
The Pyramid of Lights Project is a major source of Southeastern Indian performers, writers, speakers and personalities who are regularly featured in radio, television, films, plays, literary publications, commercials, festivals, schools, panels, and recording studios.
In 1989, the Pyramid of Lights Project narrowed its field of representation to better serve the Indian community and at the same time broadened its scope of services to include visual as well as performing artists. Prior to that time (since 1985), it was known as the Atlanta Musical Arts Collective (AMAC). It changed its name to that of its widely publicized bamboo and flame Sculpture, the "Pyramid of Lights", which was being created as a memorial to indigenous peoples of the Americas for 1992 Quincentennial events. The Atlanta Quincentennial Alliance (AQUA) was one of the first endeavors under the new name. AQUA served as an umbrella group for artists doing Quincentennial related projects. AQUA also produced a national newsletter and maintained a resource library for over three years.
The Pyramid of Lights Project is comprised of several separate components to accomplish its goals.
The OUTREACH COMPONENT recruits and develops artists who would have little access to urban areas or markets. It creates opportunities for involvement of non-artist members of local Indian communities in productions, allowing them to tell their own stories. Outreach also presents historical Indian dramas from the Southeast (such as "Strike at the Wind") in venues outside their usual locale.
The SCULPTURE COMPONENT, which serves as performance staging for the "Creekwalker" legend, uses a pyramidal form to represent the architectural, astronomical and mathematical accomplishments of the Americas at the time of encounter. It is based on and constructed to one-tenth scale of El Castillo, the grand pyramid at Chichen Itza, Yucatan. The sculpture is available independently of other components as a gallery installation or as a special events focal point.
Pyramid of Light's two most popular PERFORMANCE COMPONENT productions are "Creekwalker" and "We Remember, We Do Not Forget". "Creekwalker" is an innovative, unorthodox performance incorporating an hour-long score of original music, sculpture, dance, story telling and puppetry to tell the legend of a contemporary middle-aged Indian male whose sense of alienation leads him to a startling spiritual transformation while transporting viewers to an enchanted world of supernatural wonders. "We Remember, We Do Not Forget" is a musical shadow performance about the Seminole Removal featuring traditional dancers, historically based spoken text and original music.
The EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT creates one-on-one cultural exchanges through workshops, panels, gallery talks and informative hand-out materials.