by Caroline Vincent, Public Art Manager,
Metro Nashville Arts Commission
Watermarks: Tool Fire and Emergence
Referencing the tremendous clean-up efforts by the community and volunteers, Fennel’s sculpture, entitled Tool Fire, is a construction of hand tools over the existing fire pit next to the suspension bridge. The shape of each panel is built from tools welded together and painted black. Some of the tools, donated by the community, were used during the flood clean-up. Fennell intends the artwork to look like “waves within the fire.”
Fennell was inspired by the stories he heard from the community about neighbors pitching in to clear houses of wet drywall and carpet. They would use any hand tools they could find and would leave them piled up in the streets for the next volunteer crew to use.
From emergency comes emergence: Buddy Jackson’s artwork is a large face of an African-American woman emerging from the earth. This face serves as a symbol of every individual’s story of danger, loss, strength, and determination to push through the setbacks caused by both nature and man and emerging strong and proud from the swirling waters.
Jackson states, “I learned at the community meeting that unlike other areas of Nashville, the flood is very much still in the Bordeaux community. This primarily African-American community was one of, if not the, hardest hit by the flood—the rising waters and the aftermath of this disaster. Many homes still remain abandoned, and many people are still struggling to find resolution. I also discovered a very strong sense of pride in the community of Bordeaux, pride in how the people of the community opened shelters and help centers in areas overlooked by the system. There is a determination that they will emerge from the water intact, made whole, and stronger than ever.”