Friday, April 27, 2018

Chipeta-Mai ~ A Handcrafted Glass Matryoshka Sculpture

This collaborative outdoor sculpture created by artist team Kasia Polkowska and Kyle Cunniff will be displayed for the year starting on June 14, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After that, it will be permanently installed at Mystic Valley Sculpture Park in Mosca, Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Chipeta-Mai, a stained glass mosaic sculpture, 48"x24", 2018 by Kasia Polkowska and Kyle Cunniff (photographed in the San Luis Valley in front of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado)

Chipeta-Mai is a cross-cultural matryoshka doll. Historically, the first Matryoshka Doll was made in Russia and has since become a symbol in Eastern European Culture where Kasia was born.

This doll was sculpted by hand by Kyle who worked to inspire the nostalgia one often feels when laying eyes on the form of a nesting doll. The doll is adorned in a bright, colorful, hand cut stained glass mosaic pattern created by Kasia. 

To give her a sense of place, she was named to honor the people who's ancestral land we inhabit, focusing on Colorado where the artist team lives. Chipeta was a famous Ute woman known for diplomacy while Mai (Navajo for bright flower) was added to the end of her name for the flower she bears on her belly as many traditional matryoshkas do. 

The warm southwestern colors of the doll further reflect the state where she was realized. The bright orange that wraps around her belly mirrors the sedimentary beds of deep-red and pink sandstone seen jutting out of the soil along the front range of Colorado. 

Her headscarf was inspired by the bright blue sky that's so often filled with sunshine and hangs high above the mountains. 

This doll is a modern artifact emulating the artists' interest in the landscape they inhabit as well as the people that roamed that land long before them.