This spring, the Pennsbury Manor will showcase an immersive art and sound installation by Indigenous artist Nathan Young, and it will stay on display for a full year at the Bucks County venue.
The installation, “nkwiluntàmën: I long for it; I am lonesome for it (such as the sound of a drum),” is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and opens at the Manor on Saturday, April 15. For this particular new showcase, Young will reimagine this American historic landmark as a site for both reflecting on the past and envisioning new futures that honor Indigenous perspectives.
“The Delaware people still exist; we are still a community and many of us are engaged in highly sophisticated work,” said Young in a statement.
Young continued: “This installation showcases sound as a powerful art form and uses modern technology to add meaning to a historic place. I hope that ‘nkwiluntàmën’ inspires visitors to explore the contemporary work of the Delaware people.”
The exhibit takes on the form of a self-guided outdoor tour through a “sound walk.” As a release states, Young’s work will take participants on a journey through Pennsbury Manor’s riverfront grounds with original compositions of music, personal narrative, and environmental recordings. Participants can access the recording through their own smart devices and headphones, or provided devices. Those who cannot visit in person can experience it through the project’s accompanying phone application as well.
The experience is meant to be meditative and immersive, and is ultimately inspired by the Native American saying, “Our songs come from the wind.” The release also states that the sound walk reflects on Lenape practices that survive the tribe’s diaspora across North America and invites audiences to meditate on enduring Indigenous relationships to land.
Music also plays a role in the experience, with multiple collaborators such as Rush Falknor, Robbie Wing, Kite, David Broome, Matt Magerkurth, Lea Bertucci, Ben Vida, Nokosee Fields, Matteo Galindo, Warren Realrider, and Leya working on the project.
“Pennsbury Manor has long focused on the life of William Penn, but in the last decade, we’ve been looking beyond Penn’s legacy to that of the Lenape people who first inhabited this land,” added Doug Miller, Historic Site Administrator at Pennsbury Manor in a statement. “Nathan Young’s installation will help tell this complex story through an artistic lens.”
Philadelphians also may have already seen work from the exhibit’s curators, Ryan Strand Greenberg and Theo Loftis, who previously worked on 2019’s holographic Ghost Ship exhibition on Philadelphia’s Delaware River. Young’s work, however, is new to the area.
“The Philadelphia area has never seen contemporary artwork by a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians on such a large scale,” Miller continued in her statement. “We invite our audience to connect more deeply with the land that Pennsbury stands on, while experiencing this sophisticated work by a celebrated, contemporary Indigenous artist.”
To learn more about the new exhibit at Pennsbury Manor (400 Pennsbury Memorial Road in Morrisville), visit nkwiluntamen.com