Our Patterns, The Orator, The Astronomer, and The Poet
As the first artist to be awarded a Repository Research Fellowship from IU's Institute of Advanced Study and the first researcher to select Wylie House Museum collections for study, Natan Diacon-Furtado examined collections at both the museum and IU Archives to inform his works of art.
Two Indiana University "firsts," Harvey Young (first Black male to attend IU) and Sarah Parke Morrison (first white female to attend, graduate and teach at IU), briefly lived in the Wylie home in the latter half of the 19th century. Their time as boarders in the home coincided with that of Elizabeth Breckenridge, a Black woman who lived and worked in the home for more than fifty years. In an experimental act of research-based historical collaboration with Harvey, Sarah, and Elizabeth, Natan created twelve representative patterns of their lives based on primary source materials and inspired by the museum's quilt collection.
Through projection of the patterns within the home, Natan's works activate the partially recorded and remembered lives of these three individuals to illuminate how the Wylie House may have been a safe haven in name only. Harvey departed from IU without a degree, and Sarah left soon after receiving scathing, sexist student reviews. We think of "firsts" - people who enter an institution as the "first" of their kind - as marking the time when these institutions were made wide-open to them. While we (rightly) want to celebrate and more deeply acknowledge these "firsts," we must also acknowledge, better remember, and understand the acts of pushing out, as well as the fact that we require the most from those who stay.