Semester of Graduation
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
My Promise to Nature is a body of work created to emphasize the importance of conserving natural habitats in Louisiana’s Tunica Hills. The decision to do Land Art and select the Tunica Hills as the subject did not come to me right away. Nature and family have been woven throughout my work throughout my time in the M.F.A. program.
This was not out of reach, and I was already extremely passionate about the subject. It might be a pain due to location, but my family owned 400 acres of property in the Tunica Hills with a cabin that they had placed into a conservation easement. So, I decided to go spend a weekend up there and reacquaint myself with the land. I wasn’t sure if this trip would turn into anything, but after my first expedition on the four-wheeler through the trails of the forest, I knew this was the perfect subject for my project. I took my thesis as an opportunity to use my creativity and design background to highlight the importance of the preservation of the Tunica Hills.
Inspiration was almost immediate from the blooming of the vibrant beautyberries on the property at that time. It was an almost natural instinct to create when out exploring the land. I remembered further back on the daisy trail, a bright green moss-covered stump, and knew the two would look brilliant together. I made many trips into the woods to cut somewhat ugly shrub branches with these magnificent beautyberries. I would strip the berries from the shrub branches and place them at the base of the stump, and it took many trips, but I finally felt satisfied that there were enough berries, and it was the perfect time of day to photograph. I knew I had to capture it perfectly, knowing it would not last through the night.
I had never considered Land Art for my thesis. It developed through the introduction of land artists and through exploration and curiosity. The Tunica Hills are very unique, with distinctive soil contributing to the rare natural plant and wildlife habitats and hardwood trees that should be treasured and protected. I was raised in this area, and my family owns property in the Tunica Hills, thus have spent a significant amount of time closely observing the land. In 2011 my parents made a decision to put this piece of property into a conservation easement. At the time, I didn’t understand what a big decision this was for them. It is a contract with the government that you will care for and preserve this forested land and all future generations and/or owners. It will remain intact as a natural habitat forever. Using my background as a designer and photographer, I have created compelling land art. The purpose of this work is meant to highlight the importance of the preservation of this type of land and its contribution to the environment and wildlife in many ways.
mcvea, kathleen, "My Promise to Nature." (2023). LSU Master's Theses. 5795.