Sonya Darrow’s art is guided by being a product of two cultures: Czech and American. For Sonya, her Czech-American ‘sense of place’ is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She began to explore areas of Czech heritage outside of her own ‘sense’ and, in doing so, gained a more communal interpretation of ‘place.’
Sonya developed the folk identity “(319)Czech” as a symbol of her own Czech roots. She used this identity to engage Czech communities as she developed Stezky / Pathways. This socially engaged art project follows pathways inspired by Czech settlements across Iowa. She began mapping the cultural landscape through objects, sounds and folklore. Sonya engaged these historically Czech communities by facilitating discussions about cultural identity and sense of place.
The main materials used to create the art were objects given by people in these communities. The art was inspired by their stories. These objects range from towels used by someone’s Babi to a root that was part of the original settlement in Ely. The artist has also collected sounds based on the soundscape of land, has conducted interviews, and has recorded the Czech dialect in Iowa.
The culmination of Stezky / Pathways is this exhibition at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, along with a book that documents the journey.
For more information:
Contact the artist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stezky/Pathways project: 319czech.weebly.com