Truman Lowe and the Ke-Chunk Native American heritage honored at Nature at the Confluence campus!

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A new sculpture will be displayed in South Beloit, IL at Nature at the Confluence, an urban environmental open space. Proposed and overseen by art history professor Jo Ortel, the open-form sculpture will find its home on the banks of Turtle Creek, where it meets the Rock River.



A small model sculpture made by Truman Lowe for the art history students to use as reference.


The inspiration for this sculpture has come from the traditional Ho-Chunk dwellings found at Ke-Chunk, known as Ciporoke. Jo began this project as a way to honor the Ho-Chunk Native Americans who once looked after the very land this sculpture is to reside on--as well as honor her dear friend, Truman Lowe.
"Because he's been such a good friend, mentor, and colleague, I want to honor him by seeing the Confluence piece realized." - Jo Ortel
Truman Lowe was raised in Black River Falls as a part of the Ho-Chunk community, and in his adult life he has become a nationally-acclaimed sculptor and artist. Truman has been using his art to memorialize his Native American history, using natural materials amid philosophical and personal experiences.
When asked about his personal interpretation of the creative process, Truman responded: "You assemble elements of a visual language shaped by your own perceptions and interpretations. Then you begin to tell a story in your own [artistic] language, and those who recognize or understand what you are expressing add to their own knowledge.
Truman connected with the group of art history students led by Ortel, working with them to blend cultural respect with artistic interpretation. "Truman appreciated the students’ cultural sensitivity and their interest in commemorating the tribe's history,” Ortel says, “and he agreed to make a small model of an open-form sculpture loosely based on a wigwam, or ciporoke."  - Jo Ortel, letter to Colin and members of the Ho-Chunk nation,, 2019


The final sculpture coated in EPi’s Insta-Blak 333 Gel.


The finished sculpture is nearly 12' wide and 8' tall metal, blackened with EPi's very own Insta-Blak 333 Gel! Epi is honored and delighted to have been able to assist in bring quality materials to this very significant piece of artwork.


Thank you to Truman Lowe for all his inspiring art and sculptures, and to Jo Ortel for memorializing this piece of Ke-Chunk history at the ground of its ancestral forefathers.


Learn more here:

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