Lauritzen Gardens “Metamorphosis” exhibit promotes sustainability through art

Lauritzen Gardens’ current exhibit, “Metamorphosis,” displays artwork composed of non-biodegradable plastics to promote environmental awareness. Photo by Lauritzen Gardens.

Will Patterson

Lauritzen Gardens is currently hosting the “Metamorphosis” exhibit, which highlights human environmental impact through colorful sculptures constructed of plastics and other non-biodegradable waste. The exhibit will be on display until May 13.

The featured artists include Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robinson. Ganz was approached about bringing her art to Lauritzen Gardens, but she didn’t feel that she could fill the entire space. This prompted her to invite Robinson to collaborate on “Metamorphosis.” The resulting exhibit uses plastic waste to teach resourcefulness and sustainability.

Visitors aren’t expected to brave the cold weather to see all the sculptures. The entirety of the exhibit is located inside—most of which is the warm consecratory filled with foliage.

“The history of the garden was a group of volunteers that had a grassroots effort to build a botanical garden,” Jenkins said. “It was really built by the community for the community.”

Jenkins believed that “Metamorphosis” mirrored the garden in its community involvement. Piece by piece, she saw several of the art pieces get put together by art stu-dents while at Creighton’s Lied Education Center for the Arts. Many Lauritzen Gardens members also watched the process as the art pieces were constructed.

One of the most iconic pieces of artwork on display is “Nanami,” named after the Japanese word for “seven seas”. “Nanami” is a large sculpture of a blue whale, composed of various blue plastics.

“It started out as just a metal armature hanging in the middle of a room,” Jenkins said. “Over the course of the month, the plastic was layered on. You could see different parts added at different points in time.”

Another vibrant piece of Ganz’s work is “Celebration of Existence”—one of Jenkins’ favorites. This sculpture resembles a coral occupied arch and represents in-tense biodiversity in marine eco-systems.

“I think it has a message behind it,” Jenkins said. “A part of the piece, on the backside, is all white which is representative of coral bleaching, which is one of the unfortunate side effects of plastics and habitat change.”

Robinson’s largest contribution to “Metamorphosis” is hanging over the café and indoor fountain area of Lauritzen Gardens. Built especially for the exhibit, this art piece is composed of many dangling sculptures. While Ganz’s work typically emulates specific creatures, Robinson’s art pieces are far more abstract.

“I appreciate how it looks different from every different angle,” Jenkins said about Robinson’s art.

In addition to the large overhang-ing sections, Aurora also replaced part of the fountain area with a sea of vibrant-colored lids of various sizes.

By popular demand, Lauritzen Gardens has begun a lighting event for “Metamorphosis.” Several of the art pieces currently on display already have LED lights built into them. Those without internal lighting will have colorful spotlights illuminate them. Lighting will take place every night until March 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. and it is part of the regular exhibit.

The exhibit will be at Lauritzen Gardens and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 12. Children younger than 6 years old are admitted for free.