After spending two years at the Morton Arboretum for the Human + Nature exhibition, eight breathtaking sculptures by renowned multi-disciplinary South African artist Daniel Popper finally left Chicago last month much to the dismay of many.
Having first opened in May of 2021 for an initial one-year run, the exhibition was then extended through to February 2023 and added three additional sculptures designed by Popper.
The largest-ever exhibition of Popper’s work, it was one of the arboretum’s most popular exhibits to date. The towering arbor-inspired sculptures were crafted exclusively for the Morton Arboretum and placed in various locations across its 1,700 acres leading guests to areas they may not have explored before.
With an exciting new exhibition by Polish-American artist Olga Ziemska opening at the arboretum this May it was time to say goodbye to the beloved sculptures that had become such a landmark for many. There is one, however, that will spend a little longer in Chicago.
Popper himself last week joined city and park district officials for the installation of one of his sculptures on the Museum Campus.
Along with Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, Chicago Park District General Superintendent Rosa Escareño, and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Erin Harkey, the South African artist behind all eight arbor-inspired sculptures that were on show at the Morton Arboretum unveiled his “Heartwood” sculpture in its new home.
The 15.5-foot tall bust of a woman cleaved in two will reside on the Museum Campus on Linn White Drive, just south of Solidarity Drive for one whole year until March 2024.
“The Heartwood is the dense inner collection of rings that lie in the center of a tree trunk,” said Daniel Popper upon its installation in 2021. “The spine or central pillar of the tree is mechanically strong and resistant to decay. Its rings allude to the tree’s unique history and identity.”
“When walking through this figure. Contemplate your history, your lineage your identity all the way back to nature. Enduring, resilient and complex, with a courageous story to tell.”
[Featured image from Instagram / @anthelonious]