Choctaw Monument, Midleton, Co. Cork
Choctaw Monument, Midleton, Co. Cork – Artist: Alex Pentek. Kindred Spirits. 2015

When you are travelling east of Cork, within about half an hour you are in Midleton. Make sure to take your time to visit Bailic Park (on the Midleton Biodiversity Trail), which is in the South of Midleton. When you like Native American Art, then you are in the right place, there.

Native American Art in Cork? Yes.

Alex Pentek is the Irish artist who installed 2015 this wonderful stainless steel monument which represents a bowl made from Eagle feathers.

Alex Pentek kindly gave me the permission to quote some background information on the sculpture:

Kindred Spirits. 2015: Hand tooled finished stainless steel. H 6m.

With six welds for each vein, it took over 20,000 welds to complete the entire work.

But what does the Choctaw Monument called Kindred Spirits represent?

It’s meant to be a sign to honour the kindness of the Choctaw Nation.

Alex Pentek:

This idea was recently selected for Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, and is my response to the history of the Choctaw Nation’s help to Ireland during the famine in 1847, when they sent $170 to help to feed the Irish starving men, women and children. It was only 16 years earlier when the Choctaw were forced from their native land by the American government in what is now known as the trail of tears, making this act of kindness even more significant.

By creating an empty bowl symbolic of the Great Irish Famine formed from the seemingly fragile and rounded shaped eagle feathers used in Choctaw ceremonial dress, it is my aim to communicate the tenderness and warmth of the Choctaw Nation who provided food to the hungry when they themselves were still recovering from their own tragic recent past.

I have also chosen feathers to reflect the local bird life along the nearby water’s edge with a fusion of ideas that aims to visually communicate this act of humanity and mercy, and also the notion that the Choctaw and Irish Nations are forever more kindred spirits.

See, what another website writes about this beautiful monument:

http://www.whitewolfpack.com/2017/03/irish-town-built-memorial-to-thank.html

Ireland and also parts of Europe suffered tremendously during these years due to the “loss of the potato”, but this was not the only reason for the hard times in Ireland because there were plenty of other food.

Ireland was part of the British Empire at that time. People are talking about the “Irish Holocaust” and a “Genocide”. Digging a bit deeper we can find more information about the English Landlords who exported most of the available food to England and other countries. Many Irishmen had no other choice than to emigrate to America.

I’ve found a discussion about the use of the right Gaelic term for this hard times in Ireland (An Gorta Mór or An Drochshaol*):

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4509895/Nuair-a-th%C3%A1inig-an-Gorta-M%C3%B3r-fuair-mo-shinsir-b%C3%A1s

Regardless of the different information in the school books, it’s a historic act shown by the Choctaw Nation to the Irish – and we know that there were many others who gave their last pennies to help the Irish. What a great gesture we should not forget.


All images: Copyright © Ireland.gerlindeonline.com

 

Kindred Spirits – The Choctaw Monument in Midleton, Co. Cork

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