Celestial Cascade, 2015
Volta’s installation at the McLaughlin Youth Center, a secure detention facility in Anchorage, AK, imagines forms from the Alaskan landscape across the seasons, suspended in air. Fragmented drawings of medicinal herbs, wildflowers, water, and ice, emblazoned on 2,304 acrylic strips suspended from the ceiling, form a translucent dome. Interspersed among the natural forms are images of neurons, whose treelike dendrites hint at the dynamic, healing interplay between the mind and the natural world.
The artwork creates a space within the facility for reflection and making connections, evoking the beauty of the natural world that is both inside the mind and outside waiting to be explored. When the installation was complete, many residents of the facility shared how it encouraged them to explore their own artistic talents. One young man wrote a poem inspired by the sculpture: “The art of the sculpted dome helps you open up your mind/ Embrace the beauty while you look towards the sky.”
The artwork was created at Volta Studio in Philadelphia, PA, with the assistance of young men and women who were recently incarcerated.
Created with the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
Photos by Hal Gage