San Antonio debuts Public Art by Kaldric Dow in Martin Luther King Park

Photographs of new public artwork by Kaldric Dow.  The statue is an anonymous head topped by four columns of four rows of black reflective spheres.

Kaldric Dow, “Spheres of Reflection”, 2022, a public art sculpture for the city of San Antonio

The San Antonio Public Art Division recently made its debut Realms of Reflection from Kaldric Dow in Martin Luther King City Park. The sculpture is part of a larger initiative department that seeks to work with local artists to create a more public art that includes inputs and is representative of communities throughout the city. Through Sketch to Sculpture Launched in 2019, artists who have no experience in public art combine with experts to learn about sculptural design, production and installation.

It measures thirteen feet in height, Realms of Reflection is Kaldric Dow’s first public work of art and the first large-scale sculpture. Although he grew up in Houston, Mr. Dow studied at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he first began painting. The artist’s style has changed over the years, but he still focuses on representing blacks in a dignified and powerful way.

As a two-dimensional artist interested in creating public art, Mr. Dow entered the city’s pre-qualified list of artists. In February 2021 he was invited to start working with Sketch to Sculpture program. He knew from the beginning that his design would culminate in a statue for MLK Park on the east side of San Antonio.

Mr. Dow told Glasstire: “I knew from the beginning that it must be portraiture and brown color and another interesting element that was especially important for African Americans. [it had to include] hair. I sketched out the ideal I had in mind, but I had absolutely no idea what materials to use or how to build it. However, the city’s arts and culture department made these things easier when I used my design in collaboration with an engineer to create a 3D model and then in collaboration with manufacturers to select materials such as steel and reflective coating. ”

Draw with ink on drawing paper.  The sketch shows the front and side drawings of a potential sculpture, which includes a face from eye to face and a tall stack of balls that resemble hair.  On the page, the artist's notes appear with ideas related to the materials and the size of the foundations.  Sketch by Kaldric Dow.

Kaldric Dow, sketch for “Spheres of Reflection”, 2021 Image: City of San Antonio

The statue depicts an anonymous face and is topped by four columns with four rows of reflective black balls representing hair. Each of the spheres on the bottom two lines has words printed in white text. These words – Dream, Sincerity, Boldness, Desire, Brave, Unity, Gratitude, Responsibility, Devotion and Change – were some of the most common words used by Reverend Dr. in his speeches and essays. Martin Luther King Jr.

In a press release, Mr. Dow said: “For me, this statue represents the essence of African American culture. It was important for me to use my portrait art style to create a work that people could identify with and see represented. The spheres create a reflection in honor of the self-reflection message of Dr. King, so viewers are encouraged to look inside and consider what the words included in the statue mean to them. “

The statue was to be part of the MLK march in San Antonio, originally scheduled for Monday, January 17, 2022. However, due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, the personal march was canceled. Instead, the commemorative events will take place virtually. To learn more, visit San Antonio website.

David Berry

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