Jun 19, 2013

100 Buddha sculptures around Chicago

by: RJ Rushmore

Earlier this month, artist and nonviolence educator Indira Freitas Johnson installed the last in a series of 100 Buddha sculptures around Chicago, completing the installation of her Ten Thousands Ripples project. Ten Thousand Ripples is a public art project focused on bringing art about peace to communities plagued by violence and lacking in cultural institutions.

The project centers on Johnson’s 100 sculptures of Buddha’s head, which look like they are half-buried and rising out of the ground since only the top portion of each head is shown. Each sculpture weighs approximately 300 pounds and is filled with concrete. They have been placed throughout 10 communities in Chicago, with each community taking 10 sculptures and placing them in locations of their choice. Some of the sculptures have been put in spaces previously associated in acts of violence. Placing the sculptures was no simple task, and had been ongoing from last November until early this month.

But Ten Thousands Ripples is more than plop art. The Chicago Tribute writes, “community leaders also had to develop programs that enabled children, senior citizens and families to address the various issues in their neighborhoods that prevented peace: bullying, gun violence, gangs, sexuality and interreligious relations, to name a handful.”

The funding model for Ten Thousand Ripples is telling as to how much public support there is for the project. Fifty of the one hundred Buddhas will stay in place in Chicago communities while the other fifty will be exhibited at the Loyola University Museum of Art before being sold to help pay for the cost of the project, but a portion of Ten Thousand Ripples was also funded via Kickstarter. Last spring, Johnson raised just over $15,000 through Kickstarter to get the project off the ground.

For more about Ten Thousand Ripples and the communities involved in the project, read this article in The Chicago Tribunevisit the project website or watch the video below.

Photo by Zol87

Last updated: Feb 3, 2016

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