Sunday, November 25, 2007

Me and my partner Vito Valdez

Vito and me in front of his infamous BIG FISH sculpture in Southwest Detroit. The work was still in progress at this time. Vito and I have collaborated on various projects (not the FISH, but others). Giving to the community through involvement in public art projects contributes to healing on a different level. The more you give, the more you receive.

This is the completed sculpture. The BIG FISH has recently dissapeared from this site, much to the outrage of our community. Construction in the area encroached on the FISH and an investigation is underway as to its demise, or its whereabouts.


Elena said...

Hi Mary, I was looking for info on the Big Fish when I ran across your site. I wanted to write about it on a blog where I write about recycled art. Did you or Vito ever find out what happened? I miss seeing it and was hoping that it would've been installed by the new Mercado.

Mary Laredo said...

Hello Elena. Here is the official word on the matter:
As most of you already know, the Big Fish sculpture - which had been a landmark in SW Detroit since 2003 - mysteriously disappeared from its installed site at the NE corner of Vernor and the I-75 service drive. MDOT construction on the Gateway Project has disrupted this spot as well as most of the surrounding area. When questioned on December 6th, construction workers on the site reported that the Fish was taken away on a flat bed the previous day. Further investigation revealed that miscommunication between the two owners of the site allowed for the apparent removal and destruction of the Fish by MDOT.

MDOT has been made aware that this sculpture was a public art piece that belonged to the community, and of the outrage that has ensued since its dissapearance. In a recent steering committee meeting for the Gateway Project MDOT announced that it will include a new piece of artwork as part of the project, to be located near the foot of the new pedestrian bridge at Bagley. No other details have been decided.

The sculpture was created by local artist Vito Valdez, whose concept of the Fish was an homage to the Great Lakes and Michigan and its natural resources. Valdez is interested in resurrecting a new Fish -with his original vision intact - as a permanent, site-specific public art piece in a new location on the international border. He is currently in dialog with the director of Bagley Housing Association, who is acting as liaison. As yet, there is no guarantee that the art project will proceed.