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Heart Lines by Dr. Mary Longman

Heart Lines: MMIWG

Maquette for public monument
Heart Lines: MMIWG (2015)
8 x 9 x 4” Maquette. Matrix G, Bronze dust, stones

The monument concept is to honor the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) and is centered on the key objectives for life energy, healing, community unity/connection and justice.

The overall minimal granite forms blends five forms: heart, arteries/tree of life, bison tracks, tipi, and women sitting with blankets. The inside of the forms are petroglyph slabs of hands cast in bronze with copper, that is held to human temperate year round by an internal heating element powered by solar powered panels. The copper element is the conduit of heat and communication. The public can walk between the two forms and touch heated hand prints. The warmth of human temperature creates a living monument that generates a human connection.

The title, Heart Lines, refers to the historical Indigenous art forms throughout North America, of hearts and heart lines that extend out the mouth, it indicates life energy and soul. Elders may recall the ancient heart lines found in creative and sacred images made by Indigenous people from the Plains. Heart lines can be found in several art forms such as petroglyphs, pictographs, petroforms, drums, beaded backrests, carvings and pottery.
The tradition of x-ray imagery, such as depicting internal organs were just as important as showing the outside physical image, because it showed the entire being and narrative.

My interest in heart lines started with looking at ancient Indigenous works and when I looked at the heart closer, in x-rays, I noticed that the arteries and capillaries looked just like trees. When I looked at these tree forms closer, I realized that these formations exist in all life, from leaves to large tributaries of rivers. I made the connection of why Indigenous people across our country value the symbolic, ‘tree of life,’ because it is not just about a tree, it is about the commonality of all living things on a micro and macro level. These veins are also blood lines of ancestry, the Indigenous roots of an ancestral family tree.

This maquette for a monument is intended to be carved granite stone, with inset copper veins on the outside and bronze copper plates with cast hand prints in the inside. Dimensions are to be 10 feet tall with a 4 foot space between for viewers to walk through and experience the hand print petroglyphs.