Five massive outdoor sculptures created exclusively for The Morton Arboretum will rise above its natural landscapes when the new Human+Nature exhibition opens on June 12, 2020.
Human+Nature will be South African artist Daniel Popper’s largest exhibition to date. “The Morton Arboretum is the ideal place to create interactive art that connects people with trees and nature,” Popper said about collaborating with the Chicago-area institution. “The backdrops at the Arboretum are incredible places to tell stories through art about how we all coexist with trees,” he said, adding, “Trees look after us as much as we look after them.”
The 20- to 25-foot-tall sculptures will be installed across the 1,700-acre site, where visitors can watch the artistic process over several weeks leading up to the June opening. Using thought-provoking human forms paired with elements of nature, each piece will bring attention to the deep connections between humans and nature.
“This exhibition reflects the Arboretum’s mission to plant and protect trees for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world - for humankind,” noted Gerard T. Donnelly, Ph.D., president and CEO of The Morton Arboretum. “The sculptures are designed to inspire visitors to think about how people and trees are interdependent. People depend on trees for health and wellbeing, and trees depend on people to be able to thrive and provide their ample benefits.”
Built to create a sense of awe and wonder, five large-scale Human+Nature (pronounced “Human Nature”) sculptures will be featured with the backdrop of the Arboretum’s magnificent and mature tree collections. Visitors will be encouraged to appreciate trees in a new way, recognizing their significant importance to humankind amid a changing climate. The installations will include a towering interpretation of a Mother Nature figure welcoming Arboretum visitors to interact by walking inside the sculpture, large-scale human hands, diverse human facial traits interwoven with root structures and a symbolic opening of the human heart.
Human+Nature will be free of charge with Arboretum admission. The exhibition is planned to run through June of 2021.
About Daniel Popper
Daniel Popper is a multidisciplinary Cape Town artist known globally for his larger-than-life sculptures and spectacular public art installations. He is most acclaimed for his massive public art installations, including the memorial sculpture for the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and sculptures for popular events such as the Boom Festival in Portugal and Rainbow Serpent Festival in Australia.