The Brookfield Zoo, in Chicago, requested that I submit a proposal that would cover the topics of “environmentalism”, “sustainability”, mixed with “Chicago as a multi-cultural, immigrant community”. I submitted my work three weeks ago, and it was immediately accepted.
The piece will be printed and installed by the staff of the zoo before the end of June. At 6 x 20 feet in size, it will be one of several, displayed outdoors on a very long wall. Because of the high resolution of the image (1.4 GB), when actually walking by the piece, the detail will be quite magnificent (a detail is below).
Equally important is the narrative, which accompanies the piece:
No pesticides. No purchased fertilizers. For 500 years the Plioplys family, generation after generation, cultivated this land using natural, farm-produced materials. Totally agrarian, totally organic. The Plioplys homestead was and is located in Kazlu Ruda, Lithuania.
In the 1940′s, my great-grandfather, both grandfathers and one aunt were killed in cold blood, on this land, by occupying Soviet forces. A few miles away, in the city of Pilviskiai, a scene from the Lithuanian holocaust took place.
The ground is fertile.
To escape these war-atrocities, my parents, with hundreds of thousands of others, fled Europe for the safety of North America, and eventually settled in Chicago.
AVP May 2, 2012
The piece was installed in June 2012 and continues to be on display. It is located just south-east of the Roosevelt fountain, across from the Hamill family pet zoo.
Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st Str., Brookfield, IL 60513, 708-688-8000