Sculpture and garden honoring Obama’s late mother at the Presidential Center

Artwork by artist Maya Lin will be exhibited at the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago

CHICAGO – Thursday is former President Barack Obama’s 61st birthday.

He took the opportunity to announce a gift that will pay tribute to his late mother.

A garden is a place where seeds are planted and grown. Then they grow and blossom to fill the world with color and beauty.

Fittingly, then, Obama chose to name the garden of his presidential center on Chicago’s South Side after the woman who nurtured his growth: his mother Ann Dunham.

“When we thought about what might be an appropriate way to commemorate my mother’s influence on my sister and I, I thought about where she would want to be in this space,” Obama said. “I could imagine her sitting on one of the benches on a beautiful summer afternoon, smiling and watching a group of children run across the fountain and I thought that would capture who she was as well as n anything else.”

The garden will house a special sculpture designed by Maya Lin, the world-renowned artist who designed the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.

“It’s not just a place for education, growth, meditation, and teaching in some way,” Lin said. “There’s also this really wonderful undercurrent of a very strong woman who shaped and shaped the president.”

The installation will consist of two elements that represent the bond between Barack and Michelle Obama.

“I think it’s a duality. You have two very distinct pieces, parts,” Lin said.

According to Lin, an “oculus” will emit mist and a “flat piece of pebble” that will fill with water, cascading over the edges.

Lin named it “Seeing Through the Universe”.

“There was a little black hole, and the oculus that you see through, and now you see in the haze,” Lin said. “So even the title of the piece, ‘Seeing Through the Universe,’ is a nod to their in-depth view of the world.”

More than anything, the garden is meant to be enjoyed by people – just like art, which in its own way enhances and cultivates the life of the community.

“The room doesn’t become a work of art until people start to care about it,” Lin said.

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