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The Keeper

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Wichita Symphony, 2018, 60w x 36h Oil on Canvas

The gentle plains of Kansas looked in late spring like primordial plenty. Driving southward toward downtown, enormous elevators suggested that Wichita is a place to gather things, starting with billions of bushels of grain into towering concrete monoliths of connected upright cylinders. These shapes gave way to the rectilinear boxes of the city center.

After several days’ drive I was taken aback by the perfection of the multicultural public art space that suddenly appears amidst the cubes. Intersecting with the caramel-colored Little Arkansas River gorged with an over -abundance of late spring rains, spanned two beautiful pedestrian bridges. These evoked the architecture of Plains Indians ceremonial clothing and leather cords, and even the pier blocks recall woven fibers of grips or mats arranged in herring-bone style to mimic the supreme architecture of a feather.

It seemed to me, a stranger there, to be a shockingly appropriate community space. Expertly fabricated in rusted red sheet metal, The Keeper of the Plains sculpture, by sculptor Blackbear Bosin, loomed above, joining sky to ground. This is an incredibly relatable piece, situated on a stone column amidst a xeriscaped garden. While winding through the garden path one is accompanied by the primeval beat of a Plains Indian drum.

I saw a harmonious convergence of culture, offered in one medium and then translated into another. Stone into humanity and music into a dream, caught and translated again as it passed through a symbolic bridge, like a woven web piercing a sunset Kansas sky.

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