Conversions | 2024

Abigail Doan | Studio
2 min readFeb 29, 2024


fallow crops near Shekomeko, New York | photo: Abigail Doan studio

[ Conversions | 1 March — 1 June 2024 ]

I will have lived on a farm property in the Shekomeko Valley for a full year as of this June, 2024. It is a place that I returned to — just over the hills from where I grew up on a farm and roamed freely as a teenager.

Shekomeko was originally a village of Mahican people, settled on abundant lands with a lifeline creek running through. The word, ‘shekomeko’ actually means ‘people of the place of eels’ in Mahikanneuw language. I have not seen an eel during the time that I have lived here, but I did learn that eels generate waves that travel the length of their bodies. To swim backwards, they reverse the direction of the wave.

As I have witnessed the seasons change and the corresponding soil and waters transmute, I have wondered about the nature of conversion and the gentle and often violent states of persuasion required to complete this act. The 1740 arrival of the Moravians in the Shekomeko Valley was essentially to set up a mission to convert the Mahican peoples to Christianity. This transformative event was not something that I first considered while driving by verdant agricultural fields and manicured horse farms or country estates during the past months.

Acknowledging the history of this place, the trauma amidst the backdrop of what appears to be such a pastoral setting has also reminded me of what it feels like to change over time, not conform to the desires or frameworks of others, and to ‘generate waves’ as an expression of self and authenticity.


Conversions | 1 March — 1 June 2024 is a site specific documentation project exploring the historic, personal, and spiritual expressions of the term:

the phenomenon of humans needing to change or convert one another or alter the land, the conversion of materials/objects from one use to another, our reversing direction at times in order to sustain or adapt.

Join me during this three month exploration of conversion findings and narratives. There will be updates via my artist website and Instagram.



Abigail Doan | Studio

projects exploring the intersections of site-specific landscape phenomena, art lab/design methodologies, nature-based solutions, and cloth/textiles as metaphor