Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bye bye bamboo sculpture - it sure was fun

Is it possible to pine for a bamboo sculpture? For me, the answer is yes. Although I knew it was never meant to last forever, I'm so sad that the end days are near for the huge bamboo sculpture on the front lawn of the Mint Museum Randolph at 2730 Randolph Road.

Commissioned by the Young Affiliates of the Mint as part of Project Ten Ten Ten to commemorate the opening of the Mint Museum Uptown on 10/10/10, it's titled "Passage: Waterway" and was created by artist Tetsunori Kawana.

When it was unveiled on Aug. 11, 2011, I read that Kawana wanted people to walk through the sculpture and feel connected to nature while contemplating the life cycle. That's why he specified that it be left up for a year and then demolished.

One day when its bamboo was still fresh and green, I decided to go see what all the fuss was about. From a distance, it looked like a giant bird's nest landed on the lawn. It wasn't until I walked through it that I began to develop an emotional connection to the work of art.

Inside it I felt small and in awe of the trees, sky and grass that I could see through its twisted pieces of bamboo. Instead of feeling like a cage, it actually made me feel closer to nature. It was like a walking meditation to wander through it.

I would wait until no one was around and go through it alone so I could take my time and enjoy just being there in the moment. Because it's on the museum's lawn, you don't have to pay admission to view the sculpture, so I would go back again and again.

When spring came around, it became the center of my socializing. I'm fortunate to live near the museum, so I would invite people over, we would walk down to experience the sculpture, then go back to my house for drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

I meant to do more of that this summer, but either my work schedule or the blazing hot weather would make me put it off. Now I only have a few more days left to enjoy it. On Aug. 16, it will be torn down. It may sound silly, but I feel like I'm losing a friend. It's a reminder to enjoy and appreciate things while you have the chance.

Annie Carlano, the Mint's director of craft and design, articulated that thought beautifully in a statement released by the museum:

"(It) has now come full circle," she said. "It's gone through the four seasons, its life cycle, and is coming to an end. How lucky we have been to live with it, walk through it and experience it over the past year."



Katie Rozycki said...


Thanks for writing about this fantastic sculpture. The Young Affiliates of the Mint really enjoyed playing a role in acquiring the piece.

We're lucky that Passage:Waterway will live on in the Mint's archives and displays -- and of course in the memories and friendships that were built along with the sculpture itself.

Katie Rozycki
2012-13 YAM President

Anonymous said...

This sculpture has truly been a great addition to the lawn of MMR for the year! We have enjoyed its presence at the community celebration, Derby Days and Party in the Park, along with its warm greeting every time we visited the museum. The Young Affiliates felt honored to be able to help commission this great piece and it is bittersweet to see it go. We look forward to having it live on through photos and stories for years to come!

Emily Walker
2011-2012 YAM President

Dream Big said...

This Bamboo Sculpture was my first opportunity to take part in making such a large-scale impact on the arts community here in Charlotte. We, as Young Affiliate members, are so proud of our commitment and dedication to The Mint Museum and this will always be one of our most memorable ways of showing that.

I loved experiencing the build and life of the sculpture over the last year. I now look forward to the next mark the Young Affiliates can make on Charlotte's cultural community!

Carolyn Parsons
2012-2013 Vice President