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Totems in Indigo

Bari Ziperstein
Artwork Type
Media & Support
Indigo dyed canvas tote bag, leather on ceramic
Parks and Recreation
Arcadia Park
405 South Santa Anita Boulevard
Arcadia, CA
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Latitude: -118.034025 - Longitude: 34.136853
Image: Totems in Indigo

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Bari Ziperstein created a temporary site-specific project for the lobby of the Norman S. Johnson Aquatic Center titled, Totems in Indigo, in celebration of the opening of the 2013 pool season. Totems in Indigo references symbols of community and protection and marked the entrance to the Norman S. Johnson Aquatic Center. Historically, wooden totem poles were erected to represent protective spirits of ancestors, record ancient and oral traditions, and to indicate the boundaries of a village. Original totem animals reveal supernatural power through animal-human fusions, which shape-shift between human and animal worlds. Suggestive of these historic works, Ziperstein’s four human-scale totems include hand-carved ceramic Chinese Zodiac animal heads commemorating the months of the artwork’s exhibition, each with a luminous glaze inspired by 14th century blue and white Chinese pottery. The animal heads stacked and draped with indigo-dyed tote bags and woven pool rope, create fragmented totem poles that are at once surreal, powerful, and celebratory. Artifacts from this installation are still on display in the lobby exhibition case.

About the Artist

Bari Ziperstein is a site-specific sculptor, public artist, and designer who lives and works in Los Angeles. Utilizing a collage aesthetic, her artistic practice draws attention to the way various built environments, ranging from architectural to consumer-oriented constructions, relate to desire and aspiration. She received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.