Being Present (2016). Organza, monofilament, fiberglass, steel. 96 x 120 x 24 in.
ThriveNYC (headed by NYC's First Lady Chirlane McCray) and Tumblr hosted a series of public events in all five boroughs to promote mental health awareness. I was asked to conceptualize and create a portable installation piece embodying their joint mission of open, positive dialogue. The sculpture would travel to each borough as part of the events, and culminate in a two-week installation at the First Street Green Park.
There were many requirements: the piece had to be weatherproof; able to withstand strong winds; easy for one or two persons to assemble, disassemble and transport multiple times; and it had to meet NYC Parks' safety requirements. It also had to be big enough to serve as a fun photo op, but small enough to fit indoors in case of inclement weather.
My resulting creation was inspired generally by Tibetan prayer flags. As the wind blows through the colorful flags, it is believed that the mantras and well wishes vested in them are spread across the world. Instead of flags, we decided on the bow as a symbol of positivity, hope, and an act of giving to others. The rainbow of colors symbolize the range of emotions; it is also an immediately recognizable symbol for acceptance. The different pole heights create an ascending effect, which speaks to an open growth process that encourages sharing with friends and family, and connecting about mental health.