Ishmael's Cage

18. Ishmael's Cage, artist: student, Dan Collett, 1999

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Ishmael's Cage

Artist Statement: “People feel burdened. Our problems become shackles and chains weighing us down. Ishmael’s Cage is based upon the novel entitled Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. The issues dealt with in his novel are of grave importance, environmentally, socially, and most importantly, humanitarian. My piece, Ishamel’s Cage reflects these issues. In the novel, a gorilla named Ishmael is on display for people to poke at and stare. He finds himself challenging his intellect, while being transported from cage to cage. He discovers the nature of humanity and of captivity as well as the laws of nature of which we ourselves still do not have a fluid understanding. Ishmael became the catalyst leading to Ishmael’s Cage, the expression of my cumulative development as student and artist. My intentions in wishing to exhibit the work are to create a dialogue, specifically for Northern Kentucky University; to challenge the viewer to think about why a man cannot free himself from a cage with no roof, and a door which swings invitingly inward, represents an ineffective cage. This leads us to the understanding that the only cage surrounding us is that of our minds. The theme of the work, through education humans can attain enlightenment,a form of liberation, is essential in understanding why this sculpture pertains to this university. My purpose, then, is to show students like myself that we can achieve great things on this campus, our campus.”

 

 

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