Saturday, September 20, 2008


As you could see in the photo above, a child smiling, looking very excited as he ran towards the totem. We watched as other children started to climb up the totems and had a great time playing around the sculptures. As always, I thought of my nephew, JL, and how much I would love to be able to spend time with JL on the weekend, taking him to the garden or to the zoo. Both adults and kids enjoyed looking at these colorful, creative giant totems created by Niki de Saint Phalle.

Niki de Saint Phalle was born in 1930 near Paris, grew up in New York City, travelled throughout Europe, lived in California until her death in 2002. Her famous "Nanas" series, oversized female figures, were made of wire, fabric, brightly painted and playful. The Tarot Garden, a monumental sculpture park, in Tuscany, Italy was Niki's work over a span of 20 years. The sculptures were made of rich colors and materials from fiberglass, stones, and colorful glass. The totems range up to 18 feet tall, others weigh up to a ton or more. Children are able to touch, sit, climb, explore and even play upon some of the works.
Larger than life, colorful and playful sculptures are the well-known signature of Niki as the modern pop artist. She wanted her art to be interactive and the outdoor setting in the garden would encourage people to enjoy art and nature all at the same time.

Nana (photo above) is one of the dancing women in fanciful outfits sculptures in the series called Nanas, a French slang for "chicks" or "babes". The sculpture below is Nana on Dolphin, stands at 12 1/2 foot, is so full of life. I hope to take photos of other sculptures, displayed throughout the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, before the exhibit closes on October 31st.

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