Jazz Reliquaries by Holley Bakich

I based this series of sculptures on Catholic arm reliquaries that house the bones of saints. Depicting these famous musicians’ hands is a way to represent their talents. In these pieces, I chose to honor my favorite jazz musicians: Cab Calloway, singer and showman; Charles Mingus, bassist and composer; Miles Davis, trumpet player; Billie Holiday, vocalist; and Big Joe Turner, blues shouter and pianist. When I work on art, I often listen to these jazz musicians and gain inspiration and pleasure from their work. I chose to show their hands because they are the instruments through which they revealed their gifts. Instead of enclosing a holy relic, these arms contain an embroidered inset of the musician’s chosen instrument. Their hands are in the position for playing or singing.