A Giant Sculpture, Made in Maywood, Fits Well in Grant Park

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews|| Photos: Alexa Rogals/Wednesday Journal

A 15-foot wooden sculpture that was built in Maywood last year by contemporary artist Tashi Norbu has now become part of the fabric of Chicago’s Grant Park.

The sculpture, called “Urban Buddha,” was built from reclaimed Brazilian wood on the grounds of Re-Use Depot, 50 Madison St. in Maywood.

After Norbu completed the work last October, the giant eclectic Buddha was installed in the Grant Park Skate Park, near Michigan Ave. and Roosevelt Rd.

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A skateboarder rolls through the park on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, with the Urban Buddha seen in the background at the Grant Park Skate Park in Chicago.

During an interview last year, conducted while he was still working on the sculpture in Maywood, Norbu said that “deforestation from palm oil production is unbelievable nowadays.

“The Chinese are doing the same thing everywhere in the world,” he said. “The message is for us to be the flower, not the bee. We have to be like the flower that grows beautifully by itself and you don’t have to look for something that the bee does.”

According to a 2016 report by DNAinfo, Chicago’s park officials had hoped the sculpture, Norbu’s first artwork in the United States, would attract visitors the park’s south end during times when the skate park is closed.

Norbu’s sculpture weights about 3,500 pounds and cost roughly $20,000 to construct, according to DNAinfo.

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Mando Salazar, 6, left, and Grizel Rojas, 10, both of Chicago, sit on a bench near the Urban Buddha art piece on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, on the south end of the Grant Park Skate Park in Chicago. 

“It’s not real obvious, you have to look at it,” Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, told DNAinfo at the time.

“You want a piece people will talk about, get interested in, and learn more about. It fits well here.” VFP

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