Mississippi Bucket, 2008
for Prospect.1 New Orleans Bienial
Mississippi Bucket was inspired by my affinity to the city of New Orleans through a personal event that happened while I was reading about the 1927 storm that broke the Mississippi River levee. A few years later, in 2005, Katrina devastated New Orleans and the similarities between the two historical events became even clearer. This piece is a large-scale bucket carved in the shape of the Mississippi River made out local driftwood from the river itself. It is a metaphorical reminder that what happened in New Orleans (the levee breaking and Katrina) effected the world and relates to all of us.
In the summer of 2003 in Havana, Cuba my friend the writer and art restorer Rosa Lowinger gave me a book titled “Rising Tide” by John M. Barry. The book examines the 1927 Mississippi River flood and how it changed America and, more specifically, New Orleans which was at the epicenter of this dramatic event. While reading the book, my mother got sick and was diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew difficult days were ahead and decide to be with my mother full time at the hospital. During the quiet hours, while most patients were asleep, I read Rising Tide on and off for days. The book became my shelter from the reality surrounding me. As I read of the menacing river encroaching on New Orleans and the real damage it could cause, my mother’s situation worsened. One night, June 10, 2003, the descriptive sounds provoked by the force of the water breaking the levee until it collapsed mixed with the moaning sounds of my mother. Coincidentally, this was the time that my mother died. There was a moment of silence that I will never forget. Since this experience I have always felt a strong bond to New Orleans and the idea of creating a work for the city was always in the back of my mind. The opportunity became a reality and I never felt luckier than when Dan Cameron called to invite me to participate in Prospect 1.
Mississippi Bucket is Height x 32 x 28 feet. The sculpture was made by local New Orleans carpenters with driftwood salvaged from the Mississippi River after Hurricane Katrina