“A charismatic presence in avant-garde film and video,Oyoram is well known for his off- screen digital projections,” said M. Jessica Rowe, director of Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. “The project is a standout, reflecting the artist’s interest in complex systems of aesthetics, architecture and technology.”
“This is a new kind of public art gaining recognition and its big audience success around the world testifies to contemporary endeavors that can enliven our city,” commented Susan Fitzsimmons, vice president of the Public Art Foundation Board of Directors and Ruan Vice President and General Counsel. “This extraordinary work of art allows us to explore the creative potential of digital technologies.”
“We fully support all efforts to realize this innovative public art project as a means to nurture a sense of citizen pride in our community,” added Tim Hickman, president of the Public Art Foundation Board of Directors. “Such public and private collaborations move us closer to our goal of becoming a world-class destination for public art.”
This temporary, site-specific, public art project, “Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights,” was created by Oyoram. The music score was in collaboration with Jack Gallup and Melvin Veach. Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation organized and funded the October 14 and 16, 2018 presentation, with in-kind support from CLE Productions, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Inc., and The World Food Prize Foundation for its access to the east facade of Hall of Laureates.
ABOUT THE SITE
Designed in 1899 by Architects Smith & Gutterson as the main branch of Des Moines Public Library, this restored Beaux-Arts style building is today known as The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. The ornamented facade includes classical details and sculptural enrichments, such as symmetrical arched and pedimented doors, columns and windows. The building was built in 1900-03 as part of a plan to develop the riverfront in Des Moines. It is located at 100 Locust Street, along the Principal Riverwalk between Walnut and Locust Streets in the heart of the city.
About 17,000 years ago, a few highly skilled ‘homo sapien’ artists were doing what I am trying to do today: tell a story by painting and engraving on stone walls. The art was discovered in 1940, in the cave Lascaux in Dordogne, a region in southwest France. After Picasso visited the cave in the 1950’s, he reportedly emerged and exclaimed: “We have invented nothing.” Miro? once said, “Painting has been in a state of decadence since the age of caves.”