Guest Post: See art-in-progress in Evanston

Evanston Tiki.jpg

Photo courtesy of Susan Bearman

Another guest post from freelance writer/mother of four Susan Bearman? That's right. The lady has some great ideas -- she really knows about some cool, out-of-the-ordinary things going on around town.

Oh, and I am totally overwhelmed with the task of getting my kids ready to go back-to-school -- leaving me with zero minutes in the day to blog.

So here's Susan again!

Art is a process. If you happen to be in
Evanston between now and September 9, stop by the lakefront to see
Johnnie "Keoni" Durant deep in the process of creating a new wooden
sculpture for the city.
A Hawaiian whose art is deeply rooted
in Polynesian culture, Keoni is in Evanston working on a commissioned
piece
-- a tiki called "Ohana", which means "family" and "community" in
Hawaiian. A tiki is a large wood or stone carving that embodies the
human figure. In Polynesian culture, tikis were traditionally placed in
temples, as well as in and around private homes as symbols of core
Hawaiian spiritual and moral beliefs. Today, tikis serve as symbols of
humanity striving to create harmony among all people.

The
Evanston tiki, which will incorporate the city seal, has been designed
to represent the spirit of sportsmanship and recreation.  It was
inspired by a sculpture found in a cave on Kaua'i, circa 1850. The
major carving is being done with a chain saw in Centennial Park,
between Church Street and University Place. Once this is completed,
Keoni will have the eight-foot, half-ton tiki moved to the lagoon in
Dawes Park to complete the final carving.

Keoni works on the
sculpture between approximately 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., weather permitting.
It's fascinating to see the sculpture emerge from the giant log as
Keoni stands on a ladder, wielding his giant chainsaw with eloquence
and finesse. My son was mesmerized for a good 10 minutes.

Check
the website for updated information on the project and details about a
possible dedication ceremony, tentatively scheduled for mid-September.
Keoni will present the artwork to Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and
the City Council at the September 14 council meeting.

Susan Bearman is an Evanston-based freelance writer and editor; you can read her at Two Kinds of People and on the Chicago Moms Blog, as well as at The Animal Store.

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