Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“Floodwall” memorial takes one last trip at Arnaudville celebration

    The Hurricane Katrina memorial "Floodwall" completes its world journey Saturday in Arnaudville. On the banks of Bayou Fuselier, final sections of the Mississippi River's Algiers Levee, a 192-foot long installation, are simultaneously set ablaze.
    Artist Jana Napoli gives two of the four-by-eight-foot panels of the standing art sculpture to Arnaudville’s annual Le Feu et l’Eau (Fire and Water) Celebration for participation in the torching. The sculpture incorporates approximately 700 discarded bureau and cabinet drawers.
    "We are joining in the act of sending to memory a most remarkable and moving work of art,” said George Marks, founder and chairman of Le Feu et l’Eau. “The act of burning the pieces is in itself an opportunity to people to experience a last aspect of the power of this work.” 
    Arnaudville’s participation also serves as a reminder that Le Feu et l’Eau Celebration was created as a means to provide displaced New Orleans artists opportunity to sell work while still far from home, Marks said. 
    Le Feu et l’Eau Celebration is one of Acadiana's most interactive and entertaining events showcasing art, culture, music and food. 
    The discarded drawers are each identified by the location from where they were collected -- Gentilly, Central City, Uptown, the East, Bywater, Carrollton, the French Quarter, the Ninth Ward, Lakeview and Mid-City. They serve as reminders of the real people who experienced more than physical loss. Poignantly empty, each of these drawers once contained the artifacts of someone’s daily life and the keepsakes of a personal history. 
    The “Floodwall” section is displayed at the Steeple Vue Gallery through Saturday’s celebration. Viewers will have access to an interactive Website featuring an interview with the artist. During torching ceremonies, communications between the two sites will be conducted through a live stream projected onto a viewing screen. 
    Napoli has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has received several awards for her work, among them, the Oprah Winfrey ‘Use your life award” (2002) and a President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities award (1999). 
    “Floodwall” continues its long-standing dedication to the intersection of art and community-building but also integrates the themes of the unspoken and the unseen. 
    Le Feu et l’Eau Celebration begins with a 9 a.m. ribbon cutting at the new NuNu Arts and Culture Collective on La. 93. The torching takes place at 8 p.m. The celebration concludes at 10 p.m. 
    For more information visit www.fireandwater.home.com.

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