Dandelion Sculpture for Chengdu Earthquake Memorial Museum

Dandelion Sculpture for Chengdu Earthquake Memorial Museum
The May 12, 2008 earthquake near Chengdu, China, killed nearly 70,000 people and left nearly 5 million people homeless. A famous poet, He Xiaozhu, was in Chengdu during the quake. He wrote this poem:


Thousands upon thousands of anguished cries

Returning to silence and tranquility

Heavenly acts cannot be predicted

The moon over Wenchuan

Still, a question mark

Aftershocks extend to Chengdu

Sorrow engulfs half the world

Tears turn to ice

Let candlelight melt them away

Children, climb on a dandelion

and line up for heaven

My dandelion sculpture is inspired by that poem. I built the sculpture in my shop in Spokane, shipped it to Chengdu then Dujiangyan, and finished it there at the Guangya School where Philip Greening Jackson has set up a blacksmithing shop. With the help of Philip and his wife Linna, and with the generous hospitality of the headmaster Qing Guangya, we finished the dandelion and got it installed in the Chengdu Memorial Museum on May 9, 2009. Melissa Block of NPR visited us in Dujiangyan and aired a story which is available at the NPR website: NPR story & audio