01 | Sacred Sorrow

Sculpture  |   K. W. Bell  |  Haslett, MI

About This Installation

As a response for those who mourn:
Trials and tribulations touch everyone, so it is natural to empathize with this lone figure. However, sorrow sits heavier on the poor, (poor in spirit, poor in purse or privilege) it sinks deeper into the lonely, and rubs raw souls already exposed to affliction.

Why then the title Sacred Sorrow? Sorrow can lead us to a sacred place. When the superficial things of life fall away we are confronted with the frightful quandary to ascertain meaning and purpose in our existence. Laments are our bitterest cries and prayers, the place we pour out our hearts, where we feel forgotten, forsaken, striving to make sense of life: this is our most sacred place. It is possible? Could we dare to hope that our pain, questions and sorrow touch God? And if God can be moved, cannot people come together in lament with those who have swallowed sorrow?
This sculpture will stand still and weep.

As an invitation to stand in solidarity:
When we weep, or encounter grief, we wish it would be wiped away and long for relief. Could this be the time to wrestle deep inside our beings? Our communities? The world? And acknowledge and join in the laments of the broken?

A worldwide pandemic united the world with desperation, initiating communal commiseration. There is a universal understanding of distress, which long confinements have perpetuated. However, instead of the world becoming a whole it has left people even more disconnected and fragmented, and has exposed disparities.
This sculpture is for people to weep together.

Why is my work relevant?

Due to recent events in society regarding divisive disagreements on just about every topic including the worldwide pandemic, political issues, racial reconciliation, justice, oppression, and the Rights (and wrongs) of the people, I believe it can safely be said that distress has touched us all. Yet each heart knows its own grief. This sculpture is my response to sorrow that has cried and has been heard so let us “Weep with those who weep.”

It is important to have interactions across differences to begin to understand another’s viewpoint and this sculpture is a way to begin. It can stimulate conversation, perhaps controversy, but hopefully common decency to have compassion.

We can find ourselves in this sculpture and it can help open our eyes to see others in it.

Artist Bio

I am a Michigan Artist who paints, sculpts, and writes poetry. I am an idea-based artist. I paint and sculpt with messages, creating intrigue, using my artwork as a venue to speak. My art is a means to be a prophetic voice to society and sometimes to my own soul. An example of this is my recent sculpture titled, “What Say You?” It was awarded first prize in the International Society of Experimental Artists (ISEA) 2021 Online Exhibit. This sculpture/assemblage shows carrier pigeons (used in WWI and WWII as a form of communication). Pigeons were sent out in dangerous times with important dispatches. In these times, what do we declare as important? What messages do we send out? What comes back? The glass vials on the birds represent the capsules in which messages were placed. One capsule is a bullet shell, depicting malicious messages sent with the intention of wounding. In one glass vial, the red tissue paper renders love.

Another way I have grown as an artist is by being stretched in my understanding of people. I have had the wonderful pleasure of being part of a multi-cultural community. Seeing the world through the eyes of people who have different experiences has made me realize the world is so much more. More broken. More Beautiful. More Complex. Just more. I have been reading, listening, and engaging in discussion across differences. One thing I have learned is the need to be still. Asking, “What action can be taken?” before listening and absorbing isn’t advisable. I am learning to acknowledge others’ experiences, their hurts, the unfairness in life, and their frustrations. Grieving with someone doesn’t necessarily mean we are in total agreement, but we must show compassion. Sacred Sorrow is such a lament.

Find On The Trail - Site 01

Turner-Dodge House

The historic Turner-Dodge House is located on the Northside of Lansing in the historic neighborhood of Old Town. Find this installation on the southeast corner of the property near the circle driveway and garden.

This location is made possible in part by generous contributions from:
Norm Charles

ArtPath is generously supported by our title sponsors The Rathbun Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance. With additional support by:

Michigan Arts and Culture Council Logo
Michigan Economic Development Corporation & Patronicity