“The Passing Of A Generation,” by Oklahoma artist Troy Jackson
Through art, artifacts and the telling of the intricate history of the American West and the people and cultures that built it, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum provides a place of reflection where visitors can explore how our shared history affects future generations.
One of the Museum’s newest pieces of art, “The Passing Of A Generation,” by Oklahoma artist Troy Jackson, focuses on the idea of past generations sharing with future generations.
Jackson identifies as having both Cherokee and European heritage. His new sculpture illustrates the experiences of his cultures, both Cherokee and European, and what his grandparents taught him – thoughts and experiences that are passed from generation to generation.
“A lot of times we think about our cultures as being very different, and in ways they are, but I was interested in how closely related that they were,” he said. “That’s what this actually just stands for is the passing of their generation to me and my generation.”
According to the artist’s description of “The Passing Of A Generation,” the steel base of the sculpture indicates the strength and endurance of families forging ahead to form a better life for the next generation. The gears and bolts attached to its surface represent the Industrial Revolution and the change it had on both Native and European cultures.
The blindfolded figure standing on the base, balancing on the two spheres gives the appearance of instability and balancing a life of uncertainty. The figure standing on his shoulders represents a new generation – the outcome of the previous generation’s stories, ideas, problems, and attitudes.
The ‘new generation’ reaches out his arms, representing a chance to reach greater heights than his predecessors because of what they accomplished for him.
“I want my work to shed light on the identity of these two cultures,” Jackson said in his artist description of the new piece. “Not to separate them, but to join them together…Taking bits and pieces from a Cherokee culture, fitting them into a European culture, then attempting to draw some sensible conclusion as to what will be tolerated, not only by my family and friends but also from a diverse and complicated society.”