Client: Hillsborough County Aviation Authority
Location: Tampa, FL, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $300,000
Gresham, Smith and Partners
Simpson, Gumpertz, and Heger
Mekawy & Dianne
A streamlined sculpture of an adult leatherback sea turtle floats beneath a cloud of small hatchlings that articulate the same form at a larger scale. The adult is fabricated from high density urethane foam with a pearlescent hard coat, and the hatchlings are cast pewter with hand applied two-tone finish. The sculpture's total dimensions are 25' high, 25' wide, and 21' deep.
The implicit aspirations for artwork at the new Tampa Airport include creating an enlightened diversion for arriving and departing patrons.
This artwork is inspired by—and devoted to—the ineffable connection between wildlife and humans.
Further, it addresses the specific community of those travelling through Tampa and the specific “community” of a local species. Sea turtles represent an emerging environmental success story as their numbers and nest counts in the
Gulf gradually increase.
Through form, light and shadow this sculpture aims to encourage a reverent bond with the natural world.
Both the Airport and the contractor were key allies in realizing the artwork. Navigating the inevitable challenges encountered in any substantial commission was a group effort, one in which all parties developed relationships where we were allies, not antagonists. Mutual respect was the key.
Thematically, the artist consulted with Tampa-area marine biologists to determine promising species for the main subject.
The artist worked hands-on with a local fabricator to ensure an optimal esthetic outcome.
Other invaluable participants included engineers, lighting designers and a hand-picked installation crew.
The title n 1 signifies “a form of resilience that ensures system availability in the event of components failure”.