Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Completion date: 1996
Artwork budget: $75,000
The Angel of Harmony, an undersea environmental sculpture, was built to serve as a living example of humanity in harmony with the rest of nature. It was built in Kentucky and submerged near Nassau in The Bahamas. I designed it as a simplified human with wings, a symbol readable by any culture, as a link between humanity and the divine.
The Angel was built of seaworthy stainless steel to become an artificial reef. I would be happy to see the day when growth has so overtaken the sculpture that people wonder whether it was natural or manmade. This was an intensely personal mission for a midlife artist; I had learned to swim 2 years before and wanted to celebrate a profound experience.
This was my concept and self-funded, but I received invaluable help from two men. Ken Stull, a civil engineer and friend from Kentucky, gave countless hours to help me organize and implement the plan. As an owner of a seaside home near Nassau, he met with the Bahamian Prime Minister to outline the plan and learn the path we needed to take. Carleton Blair, at the time Acting Minister of Public Works, was a professional engineer whose volunteer hours and advice was critical to our success. Carleton was also a scuba diver, and understood all aspects of our challenge.
I needed to present to an interagency committee representing fisheries, shipping and other departments of the Bahamas government, and afterwards, I met with representatives of those agencies until permits were granted. I hired a consultant from the Nickel Development Institute in Toronto to tell me exactly which stainless alloy would be both long-lived and friendly to reef life.
Carleton arranged the assistance of a local engineer and the fabricators/installers on the island who built the footer and mounted it on the seabed with barges and a crane.
Algae and what appears to be the beginning growth of coral have covered the sculpture. If you want to go see it, I'll send you a map. Price is estimated cost in 2020 dollars