My Turn: The story behind Dabayo’duwe
TAHOE CITY, Calif. – I am the artist who created the Dabayo’duwe sculpture. It was part of the Detours Tahoe City outdoor art exhibit, in which I was invited to participate. Each artist selected a site. I picked the grassy area near Fanny Bridge. We were asked to create an installation that was relevant to our site. This led me to study the Washoe tribe, the original inhabitants of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Washoe culture is described as peaceful, based on principles of cooperation and respect, with very little environmental impact. They believed the land people, and language were intertwined. Their place name for the land around the outlet of the Truckee River is Dabayo’duwe. I decided to re-introduce the place name as my art project, simply hoping it would lead people to think about the Washoe way of life. I constructed a hanging sculpture out of recycled metal, painted in bright colors. The drawing and site photo were approved by the TCPUD prior to installation.Aug. 4 was installation day. Seeing it in place, I felt the word had impact. The installation was scheduled to hang until Sept. 30. On Aug. 19, I discovered Dabayo’duwe was missing. I figured someone had thought it would make a great Lake Tahoe souvenir.The plot thickened on Aug. 23 when the Sierra Sun published Bob Sweigert’s column “Grasshopper Soup: Beauty is in the eye of the art thief.” Bob described the theft in great detail, as relayed to him by someone who witnessed the act. Bob stated that he thought about cutting the artwork down himself. He expressed that he felt it blocked his view of the lake. Evidently, the art had created controversy.I decided to write to Bob directly. I apologized to him if the sculpture offended or blocked anyone’s view, and asked for his help in spreading the word that Dabayo’duwe can be dropped off at the Gatekeeper’s Museum, any time day or night, no questions asked.Stealing art is not applaudable. Dabayo’duwe was not a rash idea or designed to be an eyesore. It was presented as a nod to a gentle people who were here first, loved Lake Tahoe, and lived in harmony with each other and their environment.Now that Dabayo’duwe is gone, I hope the focus of the Tahoe City Wye is not just a bridge with fannies on it.- Carole Sesko is a mixed-media artist based in Truckee. Her artwork can-be viewed at http://www.carolesesko.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The county’s coronavirus case load rose by 63 over the weekend, bringing its new total to 3,355.