However far the stream flows it never forgets its source. - CODAworx

However far the stream flows it never forgets its source.

Submitted by Nancy O'Neil

Client: Oxon Hill Library

Location: Oxon Hill, MD, United States

Completion date: 2007

Artwork budget: $56,000

Project Team


Nancy O'Neil

Quaking Aspen Glass

Industry Resource

Franz Mayer Studio

Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc.


“However far the stream flows it never forgets its source.” (Yoruba Proverb) AIPP project at Oxon Hill Library, which houses the Sojourner Truth Collection Room, one of the largest Black history collections in MD. Designs are informed by a sense of history and continuity. Each panel is 4'h x 6'w x .5″d. Tempered and laminated float glass with fired pigments.


The panels were part of the library plan from the beginning. They were designed to be viewed from both sides with three panels in each of the library corridors. The library committee selected the themes: two panels with Sojourner Truth, Civil Rights, The Arts, Prince George's County, and Sports. Each panel has a handpainted and fired wavy blue element symbolizing water as a connection to the past.


I worked with the library committee and with various state and local agencies and libraries to gather the information for my design. The Sojourner Truth panels include two Library of Congress drawings, a slave ship with people, and Sojourner Truth. The Civil Rights panel has my drawing of broken chains and a school desegregation photo by Jacques Kelly. The Prince George's County panel includes my drawings of artifacts found at nearby slave sites: cowrie shells, glass beads and clay pipes. The Sports and Arts panels include Adinkras and African tapestry patterns.

Additional Information

Like much of my work, the designs are research-based collages, including photos, maps, drawings, textiles, artifacts and more.