Skip to Content

Metro Public Art Collection: Supported by the Ancestors

Artist: Lonnie Holley
Location: Edmondson Park

Supported by the Ancestors public art by Lonnie Holley

Lonnie Holley is a self-taught artist and musician born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama. Holley was inspired to pursue art after carving tombstones for his sister’s two children who were tragically killed in a house fire. Like Edmondson, Holley believes that his work and materials are divinely inspired. Working primarily in carved sandstone and found object assemblages, Holley’s sculptures have been displayed in institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Folk Art Museum, the High Museum of Art, The White House and were recently accepted into the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Artist Statement

"Supported by the Ancestors is about honoring the use of materials and the people who used those materials. I was honored to be able to celebrate the life and work of Nashville's William Edmondson, alongside the work of my friend Thornton Dial. I thought a lot about the way our ancestors used materials and how they worked those materials. When I first stood on the land that is Edmondson Park, I could see the state capital building off in the distance. I thought about the work that went into erecting that building. From the stone in the quarry and the quarrymen, to the architects and the masons who built it and all the workers along the way, it took great effort. I wanted to honor all of those workers and that labor. I wanted to honor all the workers, dead and alive, who made buildings that don't stand up high on the hills, whose buildings may not still be standing."