Known for stalking front lawns in plastic form as much as they wade through the shallows of Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay, or the Keys, pink flamingos are practically synonymous with Florida. Around the turn of the 20th century, however, native populations were decimated due to overhunting. Although residents later began to foster captive colonies, of the estimated 260,000 to 330,000 mature birds worldwide, Florida is thought to accommodate only about one percent of them. For artist Matthew Mazzotta, the iconic avian and the importance of sharing space with wildlife inspired a monumental, immersive installation at Tampa International Airport.
“Home,” a floor-to-ceiling sculpture of a lifelike flamingo, taps into the multiple meanings of its title. Travelers passing through the terminal may be “leaving their homes, returning back home, going to a new home, or simply to a place that feels like home,” reads a statement. In addition to being a place that people dwell, Florida thrums with abundant wildlife, and Mazzotta brings viewers up close and personal with one of the state’s most treasured animals. A glistening film on the ceiling imitates the surface of water, from which the bird’s head and spindly legs emerge as it scans the floor for food, and hidden projectors send glimmering light over the surface, mimicking dappled sunlight filtering through the water.
Mazzotta’s piece was recently selected as one of CODAawards top 100 public artworks to be installed internationally last year, and through July 31, you can cast your vote for your favorite. You might also be interested in the artist’s popular TED Talk about community spaces designed to delight and inspire possibility. Explore much more work on his website.
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