Nathan Young Indigenous sound installation at Pennsbury Manor

Beginning April 15, 2023, a year-long, immersive art and sound installation by Indigenous artist Nathan Young (Lenape) comes to Pennsbury Manor (a reconstruction of William Penn’s home) on the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The installation, “nkwiluntàmën: I long for it; I am lonesome for it (such as the sound of a drum),” has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

“nkwiluntàmën” will run Wednesday through Sunday afternoons, from 1pm to 4pm, through April 2024. Admission is $3 and includes entry to Pennsbury’s grounds. The phonetic pronunciation of nkwiluntàmën is: KWEE-LU-NOM-IN

As an artist and member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, a federally recognized Lenape tribe,  Young will reimagine this American historic landmark as a site for both reflecting on the past and envisioning new futures that honor Indigenous perspectives.

The Delaware people still exist; we are still a community and many of us are engaged in highly sophisticated work,” Young said. “This installation showcases sound as a powerful art form and uses modern technology to add meaning to a historic place. I hope that ‘nkwiluntàmën’ inspires visitors to explore the contemporary work of the Delaware people.”

In this self-guided, outdoor sound walk, Young’s work takes participants on a journey through Pennsbury Manor’s riverfront grounds with original compositions of music, personal narrative, and environmental recordings. Participants can access the recording through their own smart devices and headphones, or provided devices. Those who cannot visit in person can experience it through the project’s accompanying phone application.

Inspired by the Native American saying, “Our songs come from the wind,” the sound walk reflects on Lenape practices that survive the tribe’s diaspora across North America and invites audiences to meditate on enduring Indigenous relationships to land.

A series of “sound sculptures” will help to animate the landscape by emitting a composition that adds layers of environmental sound to the experience, inviting audiences to pause and reflect.

Music collaborators for this project include Rush Falknor & Robbie Wing, Kite, David Broome & Matt Magerkurth, Lea Bertucci, Ben Vida, Nokosee Fields, Matteo Galindo & Warren Realrider, and Leya.

“Pennsbury Manor has long focused on the life of William Penn, but in the last decade, we’ve been looking beyond Penn’s legacy to that of the Lenape people who first inhabited this land,” Doug Miller, Historic Site Administrator at Pennsbury Manor, said. “Nathan Young’s installation will help tell this complex story through an artistic lens.”

The project’s curators, Ryan Strand Greenberg and Theo Loftis, are known for their work on 2019’s holographic Ghost Ship exhibition on Philadelphia’s Delaware River, which featured a narrative audio tour offering a view into the historical landscape of the river.

“The Philadelphia area has never seen contemporary artwork by a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians on such a large scale,” Miller continued. “We invite our audience to connect more deeply with the land that Pennsbury stands on, while experiencing this sophisticated work by a celebrated, contemporary Indigenous artist.”

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About Pennsbury Manor

Pennsbury Manor, located at 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road, Morrisville, PA, is the 43 acre reconstructed estate of William Penn in Pennsylvania. Penn purchased the land for his home from Pennsylvania first people, the Lenape. Today the site is operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with the assistance of the 501(c)(3) Pennsbury Society.

About the Artist

Nathan Young (born 1975, Tahlequah, Oklahoma)  is a multidisciplinary artist, scholar and curator working in an expanded practice that traverses artistic fields which include, but are not limited to installation, sound, text, textiles, video, documentary, socially engaged art and experimental music.

Nathan is a founding member of the artist collective Postcommodity (2006-2015) and holds an MFA in Music / Sound from Bard College’s Milton-Avery School of the Arts. Young is currently pursuing a PhD. in the University of Oklahoma’s innovative Native American Art History Doctoral program where his scholarship is focused on Indigenous Sonic Agency.

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