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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. © Pat Musick, 2010. Photography by Timothy Hursley.

A Place Where They Cried

Artist: Pat Musick (born 1926)
Date: 2010
76 in. x 56ft. x 72ft. (193 x 1706.9 x 2194.6 cm)
Medium: Native stone
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2010.13
On View
Description34 stone figures
Accession Number: 2010.13
In Collection(s)
Provenancecommissioned by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2010
Label TextA Place Where They Cried commemorates the hardships endured by American Indians forced to migrate west from their lands in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Lousiana, North Carolina, and Florida. They traveled across northern Arkansas to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) between 1837 and 1839. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced the Choctaw, Seminole, Creek (Muscogee), Chickasaw and Cherokee to relocatea nd resulted in the Trail of Tears, the tragic march that the Cherokee call Nunahi-duna-dlo-hilu-i (the place where they cried).

This installation is placed approximately two miles south of one of the routes of the Trail of Tears. It led from Missouri to present-day Pea Ridge National Military Park and then westward along Little Sugar Crek and Spavinaw Creek to Beattie's Prairie near Maysville, Arkansas. Using native stone plinths, the sculpture suggests human figures traversing the stream, a symbolic expression of American Indians on the Trail of Tears. While addressing historical events and human tragedy, the stone figures flanking the gently flowing stream can also be viewed as witnesses to endurance and survival.