Itti’ kapochcha to’li’ known as “little brother of war” is the Chickasaw name for a game also referred to as ‘stickball.’ Toli has been enjoyed by many of the Woodland Nations of the Southeast of the US. Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee have deep roots in the game. The Chickasaw played as a substitute for war, to settle disagreements, as well as enjoy sports and athletics. After the games, different ceremonial traditions would take place. The players would paint their faces as they would for battle and fast for a more spiritual experience. Stomp Dancing from the evening until the next day dawn with singing was observed by Chickasaw and Choctaws. Women teams from the Eastern Band of Cherokee would play, with cleansing rituals in the cold rivers after they finished. Traditionally the game was played on a field similar to the size of a current football field with two poles on each end. The ball was made a small section of deerskin hide sewn around a round rock. The Toli sticks are approximately 2 feet in length with a round end made of bentwood to create the basket. The basket web was laced leather to be able and catch the ball of the hide. This artwork is a celebration of generation after generation playing this game. The artists dedicates this work to his grandfather whose Toli sticks featured prominently in the home he grew up in and for the woodland nations on whose land the artwork is being installed.
Born in Denver, Addison Karl is currently base in Italy, and is a Chickasaw and Choctaw visual artist, painter, sculptor, and public artist. His work has been collected and created throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Karl’s artistic emphasis finds its way through multidisciplinary materials and methods to create a visual narrative. The execution of his visual library is deeply rooted within the methods of creation. Pulling references from personal interactions, nature, culture, the history of humanity, altruism, perception of colors, and emotional states. His process explores two main domains combining humanitarian figurative & aesthetic subject matter. Projects in internationally working with different cultures have allowed Addison to explore the social construct of individual versus community. These ideas raise issues he feels are primordial to discuss in both contemporary and public arenas. Furthermore, through his artistic practice, he hopes to reintroduce into shared visual space a sense of ownership. Addison works with the Chickasaw Nation as a growing Culture Bearer.