Allie Walter, Numertha Geisinger, Monica Colón, Jerusha Crone, Charles Hermesmann, Matt Adams, Mattea Gernentz, Mary Fischer, Douglas Yeo, Polina Kuchenko, David Seung, Leah McMichael, Mary Fischer, Moriah Thompson, Caleb Ingegneri, Javian L. Walter, Charles Hermesmann, Caroline Park
Art, from the visual to the poetic, is inseparable from the concept of inheritance. Great art is the avatar of inheritance itself, while also being a potential medium for its exploration as a theme. When considering inheritance, I recall a famous passage from The Iliad.
As Achilles prepares to face Hector, a new shield is forged for him by Hephaestus. Decorated with scenes from all walks of life, from youth and marriage to war and death, Achilles’ shield is a microcosm of Greek civilization. In its vivid depiction of ancient Greek life the shield inherits not the legacy of Hephaestus or even of Achilles but the legacy of the poet that sang it into life. The shield inherits the Homeric world, in all its myriad forms, and depicts its inheritance in the etchings on its facade. In the same way, the works in this issue seek to depict and grapple with their creators’ own unique inheritances.
The vessel in which the shield is contained, the story of The Illiad, is and was itself a manifestation of inheritance. It is easy to forget today, but narrative and poetry began as fundamentally oral and thereby inherited art. The Homeric epics were inherited by generations and generations of oral poets, and the stories contained in them were passed down from father to son for hundreds of years. Even with written text and visual art, pieces are able to outlive their creators and thereby carry forth the inheritance bestowed upon them. The work we create today, then, is firmly rooted in the tradition of inheritance.
Like the shield, art detailing our inheritance can be useful as well as beautiful. As Achilles used his tool to help him strike down Hector, so too can we use the vehicle of our art to grapple with themes and issues in our society and in our personal lives. It is my hope that the reader will enjoy the pieces contained in this issue, and also reflect upon their own cultural and personal inheritance.