Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova
Artists / Sculptors
This family of quail began as an invitation to create a custom sculpture for Somo Village during their recent development project. We began a dialogue with SOMO and were introduced to Nicole Myers-Lim, a Pomo leader and Executive Director of the California Indian Museum & Cultural Center.
Our desire as artists was to honor the land and the local animal species while paying homage to the indigenous people who have called this land home and sanctuary for many thousands of years.
Honoring Pomo Indians & Land
Nicole spoke with us about the importance of certain animals to the Pomo people and kindly shared many written stories of Pomo mythology and narrative. We collectively decided that the quail or the “sak:a:ka” would be a very suitable animal for our project. Many of the stories regarded ‘Quail Woman’ as the most beautiful maiden in the village. Quail is also representative of a sense of home and family. Quails also had a big influence on Pomo basketry, with their feathers incorporated into the design. We portray the female quail in relationship to her two chicks- each sculpture is depicted looking to its right side, creating a counter-clockwise direction of focus to honor the ceremonial direction of movement in Pomo spirituality. The quails are situated in 3 of the cardinal directions, with the East being left open, inviting the viewer to complete the circle.
Each of our quail sculptures was built by hand. A steel frame of mostly recycled steel makes up the sub-structure of the birds. The feathers are made from recycled steel sheet metal, most of which was scrap from the demolition of former office spaces within Somo Village in the construction of the new co-working space. We studied the actual pattern and color of each individual feather of quails using online resources and did our best to recreate each by hand cutting, painting, and forming. The quails’ talons are the only portion of the birds that we constructed from wood. We collected naturally fallen branches from the redwood trees that tower over the quail garden and carved them to fit each bird. The wooden talons are an effort to ‘ground’ the sculptures in the natural materials of the exact area where they now reside.
In a humble attempt to honor these sculptures and visitors on Pomo land, we invite people to donate to the Pomo / Indigenous lead organizations listed below. These organizations were selected by Nicole Myers-Lim.
- California Indian Museum and Cultural Center
- Indian Child and Family Preservation Program
- Ya Ka Ama
- American Indian Child Resource Center
- Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
We engage this work with gratitude, and remembrance of our connectedness to our material being. Thank you for reading the story of the quails.
With Gratitude & Love,
Yustina Salnikova & Joel Dean Stockdill
Created from recycled materials
Our process of sculpting animals is an intuitive exploration of form and material which is expressed through homage. The act of recreating a natural species by transforming material that would otherwise go to landfills is an invitation to view our natural world and our consumer behaviors differently. The act of further deconstructing consumer and construction waste brings the material closer to its natural mineral state and makes suitable musculature, sinew, skin, and fur.
Every material has a story, new lumber for instance had a long life as a tree before its eventual life as timber. The story that each piece of recycled material tells is a much deeper and connected tale.
Since every material has its own advantages and limitations, the final design will always be highly influenced by the specific recycled material used.