A Tribute to the Almost Forgotten Osage Prairie


Jonathan Perrodin


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These eight sculptures stand, always calling to those with ears to hear, to remember the Earth. 


Drawing inspiration from geometry, Perrodin began experimenting in metal with the form of a small square antiprism. He then welded another metal antiprism on top of the first, then another and another. After welding it nine high, it was almost done. He added a skinny post to the bottom and low and behold, he had made a Prairie Blazing Star, which stacks it's flowers to look like a large vertical spindle of color atop a thin stalk. It was in this connection of plant form and sculptural form that this project was conceived.


The installation includes six sculptures of the stacked geometry forms in varying heights between 3-8 feet tall and each being 6 inches in diameter. They are set in the ground irregularly within an 8ft x 16ft native prairie garden of predominately Prairie Blazing Star. 


Through the change of the growing season the sculptures will slowly be hidden by the growing plants. Then in the winter, they will reveal themselves again before being lost again. This is our cultural memory and attention--always forgetting, then remembering, only to forget again.


The sculptures will be allowed to rust, a natural process of oxidation. Each sculpture rusting in it's own time speaks to the inevitability of change. With each passing year the life of the plants will speak to the power of nature to be reborn. And should give us all hope for tomorrow.


These sculptures mark as a tribute to the past--to a landscape almost forgotten; almost completely destroyed. The Osage Prairie was once as wide as Centerton to Rogers, but today we can find only small forgotten pockets. Lake Bentonville Park is remaking itself into a more natural version of itself--and Perrodin wants to celebrate that. This sculpture is a tribute to the past and a celebration of the coming life.


These monuments are to the Prairie Blazing Star of the Osage Prairie just as Joseph Beuys planted 7000 oak trees starting in 1982 in Kassel, Germany adding a basalt stone beside each one. Once completed this tribute will stand as tall and proud as Agnes Dene's Wheatfield in 1982 New York City. 


The land teaches us much if we are willing to stop and listen. Life is always going, always changing. The seasons change; flowers busy blooming, going to seed preparing life before the quiet of winter ahead. Only for them to rise again with the coming of the next Spring. 


The prairie is known for it's tall grasses and wildflowers. These six sculptures represent a moment in time, when the grasses were free to grow tall and the beavers were the trusted stewards of our streams & ponds. The sculptures represent a certain point in the life cycle of the Prairie Blazing Star. In winter when the plants aren't growing but stand as dry, sacred gifts for the community--gifts of food, habitat, and beauty, holding space for us until Spring; It's roots, growing deeper than any man is tall, is literally holding it all together for us. This is to be the celebration of the park's transformation.