During the spring 2020, during our time of Covid, working with the City of Somerville’s Public Space and Urban Forestry Division, we commissioned Fermin Casto to transform a deceased tree in the Marshall Street playground into a public sculpture. We couldn't be more pleased with the outcome, and we think you will be as well! Photography by Iaritza Menjivar
Homage to Mother and Child
In an urban landscape, tree trunks can be a challenge for the sculptor. Often, the wood dictates how it can be sculpted, sometimes changing my ideas and pushing my thoughts in other directions. I discovered that this elm had grown around a fence within the park and I had to adapt my sculpting to work around this obstacle, as well as the general condition of the wood.
Through Homage to Mother and Child I wanted to express some happiness, an elevation of spirit, especially during these difficult pandemic times. The sculpture of the mother with her child starts with realistic form and then flows into the trunk of the tree. The mother becomes part of the base and flowing into the earth. From a distance and through masks, I have met many of the neighbors throughout this project. Their expressions of interest, surprise, encouragement, and delight at having something unique for their park has made this a community project in a time when we crave social interaction.
Text by Fermin Casto, July 2020