Looking Back, Looking Forward
In December 2012, through generous funding from the Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust, ArtWalla gifted the bronze sculpture Looking Back, Looking Forward by local artist Squire Broel to the city of Walla Walla as part of their on-going public art project. The sculpture was commissioned to commemorate the Sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) of the incorporation of the city of Walla Walla. In that same year (1862), President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.
The sculpture references objects and structures that are relevant to the Walla Walla Valley such as a stalk of wheat, a feather, a fish, a wind turbine, an airplane wing, and more. According to the artist, the piece reflects on the impact that educational institutions, banking centers, and industrial development have had on the community of Walla Walla.
"The mask elements point to the process of refinement
that takes place through community growth:
simplicity moves toward complexity.
"The cosmic swirl or fingerprint references both the personal and the abstract:
there are always ideas that have yet to be formed,
and there is also an indelible mark that each of us makes
on the tapestry on our community.
"The ever-present eye gives recognition to ideas that are greater than ourselves.
It serves as a portal of light and a reminder that we must look back on our history
as we also look forward to our future."
The base includes artifacts from the 150-year history of Walla Walla.
They are made as replica castings and castings inspired by the original artifacts.
See if you can find the following:
arrowheads; military buttons, belt buckle, and insignias all from Fort Walla Walla;
mule shoe; traditional school bell; precious metal ingots from Baker Boyer Bank;
stones from Mill Creek; engraved brick from the China Building;
and Sesquicentennial tokens.
In the words of the artist,
"The sculpture, which is rooted in Walla Walla, offers many levels of engagement,
and leaves open the possibility for news ideas and understanding."