Mishe-Nahma

2003-2004

 

Mishe-Nahma was an installation commissioned by the Hudson River Museum for an exhibition which dealt with ecological issues related to the Hudson River. The installation became a metaphor for the River, which was struggling to maintain its vitality in the Anthropocene age. Its focus was the Atlantic Sturgeon which spawns in the Hudson River and whose survival had been threatened by the industrial assaults on the River. The title of the installation, Mishe-Nahma, is the Native American name, meaning King of Fishes, which was given to the great and mysterious sturgeon , a prehistoric creature which has survived for over 100 million years. In The Song of Hiawatha written by Longfellow in the mid-1800’s, Hiawatha was filled with hubris and slayed Mishe-Nahma to prove his own strength. The message was that man needed to dominate nature. By the turn of the 21st century, the health of the ecosystem of the River had been compromised, and new measures – including the protection of the Atlantic Sturgeon – were in effect to protect the vitality of the River.  

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