Alpha Sacred Beings (The Origin of Creation) is a life-sized monument symbolizing a bridge between two Indigenous Nations. This artwork and its concept was created by lead artist Marianela Fuentes, whose previous works in her Sacred Beings series have roots with the Huichol or Wixárika indigenous people of Mexico. The beaded design was created in partnership with artists from the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. These images tell stories from our region’s original people; they are stewards of all the land throughout the Delaware Valley and Philadelphia, or “Coaquannock”, and still live here today.
The designs were created on a life-sized Parasaurolophus dinosaur skeleton, which once walked the land in both the Delaware Valley and Mexico. The Parasaurolophus dinosaur, name meaning “near crested lizard”, is significant because it is the biological cousin of the Velofrons, Marianela’s first full-size dinosaur sculpture. It is the most scientifically accurate dinosaur the artist has ever created and is the first to be fully modeled after an almost entirely discovered dinosaur skeleton.
The turtle on the crown symbolizes all the land throughout North America. Around the dinosaur’s hips is a wampum belt that was given to recognize the friendship treaty under the Shackamaxon Elm between William Penn (“Mikwon”), and Tamanend (“the Affable One”). Along the spine, fire, water, wind, mountain, moon, sun, and stars appear in a set of seven to represent Seven Generations. The four cardinal directions are represented on each limb. Flora and fauna native to our region also appear throughout the beadwork. As with all things, from the tip of the tail to the end of the nose, the monument begins and ends in the stars.
The artist and two assistants hand beaded the skeleton over 10 weeks in Mexico City and it was then brought to Philadelphia to be assembled on-site.
Visit Alpha Sacred Beings at the Navy Yard's League Island Park between sunrise and sunset. League Island Park is located 12th & Constitution Ave. There is free street parking and the park is wheelchair accessible.