The Appleton Museum of Art will present a talk by photographic artist Suzanne Williamson and writer John Capouya, “Envisioning Florida’s Sacred Landscapes through a Collaboration of Words and Images,” on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m.
This talk is held in combination with the exhibition “Shadow and Reflection: Visions of Florida’s Sacred Landscapes,” an exhibition by Williamson and Capouya that re-envisions the past with images and words inspired by their exploration of Florida’s Native American mound sites. Using photographs printed on transparent fabric, metal and paper, as well as creative nonfiction texts, they create an installation — an environment — that illuminates the multiple meanings of these monuments.
Capouya writes, “This is exotic stuff, but a sustained look at mound-making native civilizations also reveals how much their lives resembled our own. We still make monuments; one Florida archaeologist sees football stadiums as our ceremonial equivalent. Native Americans were tribal, as are we — sometimes to our detriment. And humans still crave community, still search for meaning and order.”
The talk will highlight their ongoing exploration of Florida mounds from Tallahassee to Lake Okeechobee, and how they collaboratively use visual and linguistic elements to translate this exploration for viewers. There is no fee to attend the event.
Williamson lives in Tampa and works at the Tampa Museum of Art as the curatorial department assistant. She has received several fellowships to the pre-eminent artist colonies, MacDowell and Yaddo, and served on the Board of The MacDowell Colony. Williamson received an award for her pictures of a Midwest drought, published in “Ohio Magazine.” Her photographs are in museum and private collections, and have been published in “American Archaeology,” “Harpers,” “Ohio Magazine,” and “Texas Monthly.” Currently, Williamson is photographing sacred mound sites and water landscapes in Florida.
Capouya is a professor at the University of Tampa, specializing in teaching journalism and other forms of nonfiction writing. He was a working journalist in New York City for many years, including stints at “Newsweek” and “SmartMoney” magazines, and the newspapers “New York Newsday” and “The New York Times.” He has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His book, “Florida Soul,” a history of rhythm and blues music in the Sunshine State, published by the University Press of Florida, recently received the prestigious Florida Historical Society 2018 Charlton Tebeau Award for a general interest book on a Florida history topic. The book was favorably reviewed in “The Wall Street Journal,” as well.