Client: Tigre Mashaal-Lively
Location: Black Rock City, NV, United States
Completion date: 2022
Earthseed Black Arts Alliance
Stark Raven Fabrication
In 2022, the late artist Tigre Mashaal-Lively, who was also a co-founder of Santa Fe’s Earthseed Black Arts Alliance, along with Make Love Visible & Stark Raven Fabrication, unveiled the sculpture ‘Facing the Fearbeast’ at Burning Man. This artwork is a contemplation of the human struggle with fear, doubt, and trauma, and it is an interactive piece that portrays a small child confronting a colossal nightmare known as the Fearbeast. The Fearbeast is a monstrous creature that is thirty-five feet long and sixteen feet high, filled with teeth, claws, and spines. The child in the sculpture stands bravely, with compassion and dignity, looking past the monster to see the Inner Child trapped within it, which symbolizes the wounds and traumas that often manifest through destructive and harmful behavior. Dynamic light and sound designs, utilizing motion tracking technology, are used to illustrate these effects. The soundscape, created by renowned musician Raashan Ahmad, convey the work’s emotional range from dark and fearful to harmonious. In a demon-like, growling voice the Fearbeast says hurtful things like “You are not worthy of love” until viewers interact with the child and then the Fearbeast speaks in a very kind, angelic voice new phrases like “I love you” and “You are amazing”.
The goal of 'Facing the Fearbeast' was to create a sculpture about facing the fears that hound us, both externally and internally. According to the artist Tigre Mashaal-Lively it is a “A snarling Monster of claws and teeth and nightmares looms over a loan child, who faces the monster with dignified courage … neither afraid or vengeful. 'Facing the Fearbeast' is meant to convey the inner demons, traumas and self-deceits that threaten our well-being and thriving. We choose to move past the false narrative of the Hero Alone and to stand alongside each other in true love and siblingship.”
The Fearbeast is constructed with a robust steel tube structure supporting the form. The surface is sculpted with a combination of recycled and scrap steel, up-cycled rubber tires, and other mixed materials. The body of the beast is covered in blackened steel scales, and the translucent eyes will glow with fury. The child is sculpted with cast reishi mycelium. This exciting new process is at the forefront of new sustainable materials development, creating an organic-based form in contrast with the industrial materials that make up the Fearbeast.
In October 2022, just two months after the unveiling of "Facing the Fearbeast", the artist behind the sculpture, Tigre Mashaal-Lively, passed away. Mashaal-Lively, who was 37 years old, was remembered by friends and family as a creative storyteller and a loving collaborator. They released a statement via Mashaal-Lively's social media accounts stating that the artist had chosen to leave this world and travel to the next realm of their being. The interactive sculpture "Facing the Fearbeast" became Mashaal-Lively's final artistic achievement. Created with funding from Burning Man and with the help of various donors, volunteers, interns, fellow artists, fabricators, and welders from local shop Stark Raven Fabrication, which Mashaal-Lively co-founded, the Fearbeast was an interactive artwork that encouraged people to confront their fears, grow with them, and become better because of them.