WIND AND WAVES
(LaGuardia Airport, New York ◦ 2019)

An homage to the nautical seaplanes of the Marine Air Terminal, and to the plants that propelled our migrations and manifested our cultural diversity.

Concept

Wind and Waves connects natural and social histories through a biodegradable sculpture of a clipper ship, with seeds woven and embedded into its sails and structure. Each seed variety highlights a different plant with a role in New York City's immigration history.

From tea plants (the earliest cargo for nautical clippers traveling between the Americas, Asia, and Europe), to rice and millet (brought to the United States during the African diaspora, when captured slaves braided seeds into their hair to preserve their heritage), to the potato (which has South American origins and a role in Irish immigration to New York City) - these seeds and many others create a garden of transportation that reflects the diverse origins of our urban community.


Installation

The Wind and Waves installation was part of the Artport Residency, a program of Queens Council on the Arts. In a former newstand turned studio at the historic Marine Air Terminal (Terminal A) of LaGuardia Airport, the residency provides Queens-based artists with an incomparably unique venue for artistic exhibition and public engagement.

Wind and Waves allowed airport visitors to participate by sharing personal stories of plants and migration for incorporation into the project, and to witness the project's creation and evolution over a three month residency period. The installation culminated in a public unveiling for the completed sculpture in which attendees clipped and planted seeds from the sculpture's sails, with seedlings going to local community gardens.

Completed sculpture with seeds clipped from sails.

Sculpture in progress.


Partnerships

Wind and Waves was developed as a part of the Artport Residency, a program of the Queens Council on the Arts' Queens Art Fund that is supported in part by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs' Greater New York Arts Development Fund, in partnership with the NYC Council and in partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.



Public Engagement

Artist Brian Soliwoda expresses his gratitude to members of the public that shared their seed stories for inclusion in the project. The stories were collected from visitors to LaGuardia Airport's Marine Air Terminal, from students of New York University's Environmental Literature course, and during the 2019 Seed Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. The stories and seeds were exhibited as part of the installation in a gallery space at the LaGuardia Airport studio.

Community members clipping and planting seeds from the sculpture during the exhibition's closing event.


Seed story gallery at LaGuardia Airport.


A selection of collected seed stories:




Future of the Project

The Wind and Waves sculpture will continue to be exhibited at public outreach events; watch our calendar for exhibition announcements! Planted seeds from the sculpture will be propagated by the Salt Tree Art team and distributed to local community gardens in NYC. The Wind and Waves concept and the collected seed stories are also providing the foundation for an upcoming project to be announced later in 2019!