I listen, and I forget
I see, and I remember
I do, and I understand

- Chinese Proverb

Sculpture: Liberty

Liberty, repurposed materials: matches, glue, styrofoam packing material, and acrylic paint, 2020
Created for the Provincetown 400 Exhibition, with the theme: Liberty, Justice, and Freedom of Expression
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

While researching the symbols of liberty I came across the red cap that was worn by sailors in ancient Greece. Roman slaves that were freed wore this cap as a symbol of liberty. During the French revolution the soldiers fighting for liberty also adapted the red cap. When Americans declared a war for Independence from England they also used this symbol. Eventually, the red cap was mounted on a pole so everyone could see it. Later, a red piece of cloth was used instead, and this became the first flag and flagpole.

1,500 men on Cape Cod, in 1763, volunteered to fight in the American Revolution. They gathered under the Liberty pole in Barnstable as a symbol of their dedication. The matches represent the 1,500 volunteers from Cape Cod, a Liberty pole for each one, who risked their lives for our freedom. As volunteers they did not gather in a specific order, so the matches are not placed in perfect rows. Red, blue, and white are the symbols of liberty, justice, and freedom of expression. The shape of the star is taken from early American design motifs.

Excerpts from a review from the Provincetown Independent
September 24, 2020
Saskia Maxwell Keller

“The Provincetown Art Association and Museum has joined forces with the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum for “Members’ Juried: Provincetown 400,” an exhibit of artwork by PAAM members that is on view at PMPM’s East Gallery through the end of the year.
The theme of the show is “liberty, justice, and freedom of expression.” Though a theme as open-ended as “liberty” runs the risk of including everything, the selected artwork is appropriate and relevant, and pushes the theme’s concept in interesting ways. The jurors — Megan Hinton, Joe Fiorello, and Jane Paradise — chose 33 pieces out of 108 submissions.

...Liberty, a star-shaped sculpture by M.J. Dickson, is constructed of 1,500 matches that are meant to represent the 1,500 men from Cape Cod who volunteered to fight in the American Revolution. The matches resemble the red cap mounted on a pole that served as the first flag...”