The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday January 31st

Q&A with Elder in Residence Senora Lynch

Senora Lynch, member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe and newly selected 2013 Elder in Residence for the UNC American Indian Center will discuss “The Gift” — her mosaic design on a walkway outside the Student Union — tonight.

Staff writer Sarah Ang spoke with Lynch about being selected for the residency, her past projects and what inspires her pottery.

ATTEND THE LECTURE

Time: 6 p.m. today
Location: Nelson Mandela Auditorium, FedEx Global Education Center
Info: http://bit.ly/zNJf4J

Daily Tar Heel: How does it feel being chosen as the 2013 Elder in Residence, and what do you plan to accomplish?

Senora Lynch: I’m very honored to be asked to come as an elder — though I don’t think of myself as one. Sometimes when you hear elder it’s compared to age, but it’s also compared to who you respect.

I have a lot to learn in life. I have a long way to go before I reach the elder status, because life teaches you a lot.

But I’ll share what’s been given to me and I’ll try to represent all the tribes in North Carolina as I come to UNC.

I want to enlighten people and let them know there are many Indian people who live in North Carolina.

Hopefully, they’ll get a better understanding of the tribe, the community we come from and learn more about our culture.

DTH: Many people walk through “The Gift” without realizing what it is. Can you elaborate about the project?

SL: They were going to designate the Student Union as a place for student diversity, and they wanted to make sure it represented all cultures.

I was, of course, very nervous. I’d never done anything like that, of that direction or that scale.

I went back to the drawing board, trying to relate things that were part of Indian culture as a whole, but also things that can relate to other people as they live their life.

I have dogwood flowers for the springtime and new beginnings. It’s perfect for college kids because you step onto the University and you have a new beginning — you have a fresh start in life.

DTH: Can you tell me more about your artwork, in terms of being part of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe?

SL: I consider my work a contemporary and traditional style of pottery.

It has a lot of traditional elements: the hand-coiling, the red clay, and that it’s hand-built. It’s contemporary because you wouldn’t have found old Native American pottery as elaborate as mine. But you would find important symbols like turtles, birds, eagles and bears.

DTH: Do you think your art helps your tribe in a way?

SL: I do. It’s like an oral history being passed down through the pottery. It also helps us to hold on to something — to what we do have. And we do have the earth, we have our elders, we have our stories.

DTH: Have you always been interested in art?

SL: All my life, I’ve done some kind of art with my hands. I’ve always created and looked at things as beautiful. Everything, in my opinion, is art.

Contact the desk editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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