Kit Stafford reflects on maps and borders in an art display at SAW. photo by Jodi Schneider
Kit Stafford reflects on maps and borders in an art display at SAW. photo by Jodi Schneider

Fascination with the terrain where we reside has been innate to human nature since prehistoric times. Some of the cave paintings and other illustrations on bones and artifacts have turned out to be, according to the latest investigations, maps of hunting areas, streams, routes, and even maps of the stars.

Evidence of mapmaking suggests that the map evolved independently in many separate parts of world. Marshall Islanders made stick charts for navigation. Pre-Columbian maps in Mexico used footprints to represent roads. Early Eskimos carved ivory coastal maps and Incas built relief maps of stone and clay.

Maps are a universal medium for communication - and are just plain interesting to look at.

The entry gallery at Sisters Art Works in Sisters is now showcasing Map the World - Borders and Crossings, an interactive installation by Kit Stafford and Krayna Castelbaum.

"I wanted to give people a place to share where they are from, how they feel about borders and to think about mapping a better world," Stafford told The Nugget.

Stafford is a lover of maps - a cartophile.

"I have around 14 pull-down school maps that I was given during the time I taught dance residencies all over the state," Stafford said. "When a map would be out of date the school would throw them out. I kept an eye out for them and gave them a place to live. I have 20 globes - one of the moon, and I have a globe from 1913."

Maps are intriguing, they give us new perspectives. People can chart their journeys and dream of places they want to explore.

"'Map the World - Borders and Crossings' was an opportunity to collaborate with my friend Krayna Castelbaum," said Stafford. "We brainstormed around the idea of transitions, how countries disappear, and others appear. We agreed that maps open the imagination to possibilities and ways to talk back to the darkness that sometimes seems to have a hold on the world."

Stafford took the reins as curator for the entry gallery at Sisters Art Works over two years ago and has a knack for designing spaces that truly highlights the artist's voice.

Stafford noted, "Kathy Deggendorfer recognized my passion for arts education and for connecting people through the arts. So she created a position for me to help serve through The Roundhouse Foundation by being consultant to Sisters Arts Association, assisting the arts teachers in our district to identify needs not otherwise provided for them and by curating shows at Sisters Art Works."

Castelbaum reflected on the exhibit:

"Borders are often seen as solid and permanent, when they are actually permeable and ever-changing. It's been a wonderful provocative process - to dive deeper into my own assumptions and creative responses on the map subject. This gave me a chance to really explore, and I love that!"

Some of the maps displayed in the entry gallery are: The Landstat map from 1976 taken from space, a Japan map from 1984, a 1957 United States map, Peoples Map of Africa from1971, and a map of Europe from 1969.

"I hope this show gets us thinking about the nature of borders and new possibilities that create unity," added Castelbaum. "At the same time, I want people to have fun re-visioning, re-making and re-mapping the world."

Stafford invites viewers to Sisters Art Works at 204 W. Adams Ave. to make their marks and to think about what borders do - keep us out or keep us in.