Monday, November 23, 2009

What's a Cenotaph? See Apache artist Bob Haozous' Creation

This scene is of a new and unusual installation near the Tampa Bay History Center (shown as the background to this spectacular artist's creation.) It is a "cenotaph," defined as "A monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere." The city of Tampa joined with members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida on September 21st to dedicate this Cenotaph and Ceremonial Space just behind the new Tampa Bay History Center and alongside the Tampa Riverwalk and Garrison Channel. The city’s website,, offers the following description of the cenotaph and Ceremonial Space: “American Indians throughout the Western Hemisphere have a unique and rightful connection to place. The cenotaph and Ceremonial Space in Cotanchobee / Fort Brooke, marks such a place. Once a thriving center for ancient indigenous chiefdoms until invasions in the 1500s by Spanish explorers, and as an early 1800s refuge for Creek (now Seminole) peoples in fleeing south from Alabama and Georgia from invasion by a federal government, this space has been a nexus of alternating peace and struggle. Heavy with the memories of federal wars on the Seminole to force their 1824 removal out of Florida to territories west, this place becomes a meaningful place ground. The cenotaph and Ceremonial Space mark a time of peace and reconciliation with the land as an indigenous place.”

The foundation under and around the cenotaph is further described: “A circle formed of bricks is separated into four quadrants, each corresponding to one of the four cardinal directions and possessing a culturally-appropriate color; yellow for the East, red for the North, black for the West, and white for the South. These colors are also found prominently in the flags of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It is a Miccosukee belief that life spins in a circle starting in the east and moving to the north, west, and south. Native peoples almost universally understand the directional colors.” Go to the city’s website for more detail and photographs that show the cenotaph more clearly, HERE.

The cenotaph's creator is the renowned Native-American artist, Bob Haozous. He was born in
Los Angeles, California in 1943, and spent some of his early years in Apache, Oklahoma. After service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam war, he enrolled in the California College of Arts and Crafts where he received a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture in 1971.He lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache Tribe of Oklahoma. Museums that include his work include: The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, The Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California. Several of New Mexico's museums also have collected his works, including: The Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, The Museum of Indian art and Culture in Santa Fe, The Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, The Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and The Roswell Museum and Art Center in Roswell. Internationally, his work is in the collections of: The Westphalian State Museum of Natural History in Munster, The Dresdner Bank Collection of Stuttgart, and The Museum fuer Weltkulturen in Frankfurt. In Norway his work is in the collection of The Trondheim Sjofartsmuseum in Trondheim. In 1999, Bob Haozous was selected with eight other contemporary Native-American artists to participate in the exhibition CEREMONIAL at the 1999 Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy. In 2001, Haozous served as advisor and participant in the Native-American exhibition UMBILICUS at the 2001 Venice Biennale. The National Museum of the American Indian's inaugural exhibit "Shared Visions" in Washington, DC selected Haozous' sculpture "Apache Pull Toy." Visit his website HERE. His cenotaph and this Ceremonial Space are well worth visiting and spending time with. It's a beautiful setting to begin with (on the waterfront and just steps from the History Center) but it is so informative about our history and the original native people who inhabited the Tampa Bay area for thousands of years.

WELCOME: Tsutomu Otsuka is the newest Follower of Tampa Florida Photo. He is an award-winning photographer and editor in chief for the Kyoto Photo Press in Japan. His profile states that he uses digital but that he also “loves medium and large format film cameras as Rolleiflex, Deardorff View 8x10,” and other fine film cameras. He freelances and is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society and the Photographic Science Society Japan. His photography is impressive and demonstrates a great photographic talent.
Visit Tsutomu at both of his blogs: Stroll on Kyoto Gardens HERE
and Camera Works Blogger HERE
To learn more about his work and career click HERE.


  1. Wow, that is an impressive piece and impressive post. I've heard of these but have never seen one. While doing undergraduate work at Arizona State University, I took a course in "Indian affairs," and it turned out to be one of my favorite courses - taught by a "white" married to a Navajo woman.

    I don't think the story of how European "immigrants" destroyed the life of the Native Americans has been fully understood or appreciated by most of our citizens today.

  2. I loved this blog--I learned something new and was fascinated.

  3. That is quite an impressive monument Frank and thanks so much for taking the time to post all of the information about it. Oh and yes it's supposed to get a little cold here over the Thanksgiving holidays--apparently down in the 30's at night. I'm looking forward to it!

  4. Your photo does this marvelous creation justice Frank. Thank you for the well written, informative companion article.

  5. How creative of the artists [I don't call them engineers if they do such great art]!

    Garden Lizard

  6. When we use the word Cenotaph in the UK it tends to refer to the Lutyens designed monument to the war dead of WW1 which stands in Whitehall. Every Remembrance Sunday it is the focal-point for the main Remembrance parade attended by the Queen.