This piece, I knew, was the right way to revivify these New Orleans treasures, relics of someone's past life... - Dolan Geiman
In 2005, we ventured to Jazzfest in New Orleans, Louisiana - a wonderful opportunity for a (then) newer artist and a cosmically interesting time to be on a journey south. Merely weeks after Hurricane Katrina ravaged this iconic place, we rolled into town not entirely sure what awaited us.
Driving around in between show hours, I was struck by the sheer force of nature bent on changing everything in its path. Buildings overturned with water still deeper than cars in some spots, highlighted by haunting bursts of spray paint providing an almost too-quick recap of rescue efforts.
More as a memento than anything, I decided to the overflowing dumpsters lining the narrow streets of the French Quarter, each containing the remnants of homes and businesses lost to this powerful storm, with the intention of preserving a little of these lost memories in a new way. We carted away floorboards, siding, ceiling tin, and sundry other discarded otherwise unusable items, packing them into the van to bring home to Chicago.
I have sat on these materials for nearly two decades, unsure of where and how to bring them back to life. As this Protector (Barn Owl) scuplture came together, it made sense that this creature - a fierce predator and a fierce protector - is not unlike the natural forces that give and take from us. This piece, I knew, was the right way to revivify these New Orleans treasures, relics of someone's past life and a reminder of how quickly everything can change -- and in that uncertainty, a knowing that a powerful force watches over us, always.