Color photograph of the head and torso of Julia A. Sienkewicz, standing outside with a grassy meadow behind her and a tree to the left

Julia A. Sienkewicz

Terra Foundation Fellowship
January 24–July 22, 2022
Associate Professor, Fine Arts Department, Roanoke College
Project title
Forms of White Hegemony: Transnational Sculptors, Racialized Identity, and the Torch of Civilization, 1836–1865
Project description

In 1836, three sculptors convened at the United States Capitol: Horatio Greenough, Ferdinand Pettrich, and Luigi Persico. The three were vying for a major federal commission. Ultimately, Greenough and Persico split the prize. Pettrich, instead, embarked on an ambitious sculptural project, producing a series of Native American figures, which he later gifted to Pope Pius IX. Forms of White Hegemony brings together the work of these three transnational sculptors who built their careers between Italy and the United States. Focused on the years between 1836 and 1865, this book analyzes the work of these transnational sculptors around the iconography of white hegemony, evident and celebrated in their works. I interpret the leitmotif of rising white civilization as a significant artistic force in the face of union and disunion for the United States facing civil war and the Italian peninsula forging toward unification.