Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Call for Artists

Project Overview:
The Schuyler Flatts Burial Project was created to provide an honorable, dignified and respectful burial for the human skeletal remains of 14 African Americans found in Colonie.  Investigations revealed that during the 18th and early 19th centuries, the location was a Negro burial ground in an area described as Schuyler Flatts, which was part of a large estate owned by the Colonial Schuyler family.
On June 5th, 2005 construction work in the Town of Colonie, NY (Route 32 near Menands/Watervliet) revealed an unmarked burial ground. Archaeologists discovered 13 sets of remains plus another set of remains was found in 1998. A total of 14 individuals were discovered.

In 2010, bioarchaeological analysis was completed by the NYS Museum. The analyses determined that the remains are about 200 years old and represent 6 women, 1 man, 2 children, and five infants. DNA analysis concluded that four of the individuals are of African descent. (West/East and Central Africa) Two sets of remains are descendants of women from Madagascar (off the coast of Southeast Africa). One individual, who may have been of mixed ancestry, was descendant from a Native American woman (possibly Micmac Tribe: Eastern Canada and the Northeastern corner of the United States). The burial ground was dated between the 1700s and early 1800s. Historical research indicates that the burial ground was part of a large estate owned by the colonial Schuyler family who owned a number of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project Committee is in the process of planning and implementing a ceremony at St Agnes Cemetery located in Menands, NY on Sat, June 18th 2016.

Artistic Burial Containers:
Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project Committee is soliciting design proposals to create burial containers. 
All containers should be artistically constructed of wood (natural wood only, not laminates or synthetic materials, although wood stains are encouraged) and should measure 2 feet long, by 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep. The finished piece should have a top which can either be opened or removed and fastened to the container. All designs should incorporate the symbol “Sankofa” defined and illustrated below. 
All burial containers will be used as funerary containers and buried filled with a set of remains. 
The containers will be on display during two ceremonial events.   Each artist will have the opportunity to discuss their work at one of the events. The remains will lie in state at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site on July 17th. The containers will be the honored resting place for these ancestors.


Sankofa is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates as "reach back and get it" (san - to return; ko - to go; fa - to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which translates as: "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten."

Submission guidelines
All submissions should include:
Artist’s bio (less than 1 page in MS Word or PDF format)
Description explaining the meaning of the piece of art (less than 1 page in MS Word or PDF format)
A visual/graphic representation which accurately reflects the appearance of the final built piece in JPEG, TIFF or PDF format, the graphic should include views from the top, side and front.  The design should incorporate the symbol Sankofa referenced in the previous section.

Project Timeline and Deadline
All questions and inquiries about the project should be submitted via email to schuylerflattsburialground@gmail.com , all submissions must be received via email by November 16th 2015. Selected artists will be notified by January 11th 2016. 

Project Sponsors:

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