“Generations” is the focal point of the Trauma Memorial Garden near the Bill and Barbara Richardson Pavilion. The Garden is a special place of remembrance for those who died in service to patients and who died fighting for their life in the UNM Trauma Center.
Patients who undergo trauma are thrown along with family and loved ones into an unexpected health crisis. This sculpture embodies the caring of the family and the compassion and intervention of doctors, nurses, and staff of the UNM Hospital. “Generations” provides solace and a healing environment for patients, their families, and staff.
Family is the theme of “Generations.” The three faces symbolize members of the immediate family with the parental figure at the top of the sculpture, looking off into the future. These figures wrapped up together represent the interrelationship of family members. The faces reflect strength, joy and goodness and provide inspiration for families as they face the challenges of today’s world.
Opposite of the figures, the sculpture features a water symbol of the peyote bird, which symbolizes strength and prayer in some Native American cultures. The two eagle feathers symbolize the relationships as two come together to become one. These symbols represent sharing, nurture, and learning among children and parents, and the transformational quality of these relationships.
The artist, Presley LaFountain, sees “Generations” as autobiographical. He is the oldest of ten children and grew up in a close family environment in which members of the extended family live near one another and work together to raise children and care for elderly.
Influenced by the dichotomy of the traditional life-style and his archaic Indian Boarding School experience of the 60’s in North Dakota, LaFountain now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his children: daughter Aurah and sons, Saige and Samuel. Using rhythm, movement and shadows, LaFountain’s sculpture captures the essence of emotions, luring onlookers through skillful simplicity.
“The influence of being part of the modern world and also a Native American Indian has been a source of strength that enables me to keep my own personal integrity in harmony with my art. I carve deliberately without detail…I want to interpret a whole spectrum of emotions.”
Presley LaFountain has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and commissions, amongst them: the 1976 Institute of American Indian Arts Purchase Award, the 1979 First Annual American Indian Art Show Governor’s Award of the United Tribes in Bismark, North Dakota and the 1986 Wheelwright Museum Award in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Most Promising Young Sculptor and Carver.
Now with over 25 years of sculpting, Presley has mastered craftsmanship and portrayed extensive emotions, yet continues to refine his personal vision as well as influence many sculptors throughout and beyond Indian Country.
LaFountain has a special connection with the UNM Trauma Center. In 2002, LaFountain was dragged by a vehicle for more than a half-mile through the streets of Santa Fe. Found shortly after the incident with severe injuries he was airlifted to UNM Hospital where he fought for his life, and began the long and painful rehabilitation process.
Now seven years later, LaFountain is giving back to UNM. “Generations” symbolizes the strength and joy of the family. With the sculpture LaFountain hopes to give inspiration to families in need as they face the challenges of today’s world.
“The physical demands of my art have not only enabled me to watch my hands literally change, but have kept the spirit of my creativity alive. Life’s undulations have only added to the unbelievable, vast possibilities and growth in my art, my family, and my part of the goodness in the world community. I am thankful for the many people who have supported my career over the years and who continue to possess a part of my life through my sculpture.”
Sponsors for "Generations"
The Departments of Surgery, Radiology, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine, Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology have come together to help fund the purchase and installation of “Generations” and the Trauma Memorial Garden.
The garden relied heavily on individual sponsors, which without the support of these individuals; the project would not have been possible.
Philip and Olga Eaton
John and Susan Russell
John and Janet Shaw
Michael and Susan Williamson
“Generations” and the Garden is a special place of remembrance for those who died in service to patients and who died fighting for their life in the UNM Trauma Center.
Those being remembered include:
A. Earl Walker
Other Pieces at UNM
Currently, there are no other pieces by this artist at UNM.