Offering Hat, Drinking Cup & Illuminated Boat

1997 • Kansas City Public Health Facility,  Kansas City, Missouri

Aluminum, steel, brass.  Each 6' x various widths x 14-17' lengths.

Three atrium “origami” sculptures: a planter with aloe vera, a courtyard fountain, and an illuminated chandelier. 


Offering Hat,  resembles an upside down folded paper hat with one end tilted upward and the lower end on the floor. Within the hat are several large Aloe Vera plants, a traditional healing plant found originally in Africa. The hat is both gesture and offering with the intention that people who come to the facility will be able to take an offshoot home with them, the artist's gesture of a healing offering.


The second container in the project is a giant "paper" bronze cup that functions as part of a fountain and reflecting pool in the courtyard on the north side of the atrium. Drinking Cup represents the healing property of water.


Each of the three sculptures is held in place by stylized fingers. The hat which holds the aloe is in turn held in place by finger-like cylinders. The chandelier boat's ropes are delicately held by fingers too. And the Drinking Cup is held by a forefinger and thumb, with one little pinky extended outward.


The third sculptural element is a giant, golden boat. The pipe that forms its basic structure is gold leafed and the boat's sides are made from brass screen material. Illuminated Boat represents the healing element of light. It works metaphorically as the sun and functionally as theatrium's chandelier.  It is hung from the ceiling by large jute halyards. On sunny days, the brass scrim material and light combine to make moire patterns. The boat references the serious flooding of the Mississippi which was occuring a few years before the completion of the project.

© 1997 Buster Simpson

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