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Sculpture at Vasquez Rocks wins national recognition

Posted: July 22, 2013 3:11 p.m.
Updated: July 22, 2013 3:11 p.m.

Kyungmi Shin of Los Angeles places a necklace to be embedded into a rammed-earth sculpture at Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce in 2012. Signal photo by Jonathan Pobre

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A national organization has selected the sculpture Orit Haj at Vasquez Rocks Interpretive Center as one of the 50 best public art projects of 2013, county officials announced.

The sculpture, designed as a tribute to the Native American culture of the Tatavium people from the Santa Clarita Valley, employs the “rammed earth” technique of construction, which pounds local materials into a form usually employed for wall building.

The collaborative building team Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess invited residents to participate by contributing personal artifacts to embed in the sculpture. Building materials were selected such that the artifacts embedded into the sculpture will be exposed over about 150 years as the sculpture weathers away.

“This award-winning artwork adds significantly to the cultural, historical and environmental experience at our Vasquez Rocks Interpretive Center,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

The artwork’s use of native materials makes it easy to miss to casual visitors of the Interpretive Center, reopened recently by Los Angeles County following reconstruction of the facilities at Vasquez Rocks.

Orit Haj was selected from among 350 submissions for the 2013 Public Art Network Year in Review award by Americans for the Arts, a leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts.

The annual “Year in Review” program recognizes the most exemplary, innovative, permanent or temporary public artworks created or debuted in the previous year. It is the only national award that specifically recognizes public art projects.



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