Created by Tashi Norbu, Urban Buddha is located within the skate park of Chicago's Grant Park. It is the artist's first work on display in the United States and was placed in October 2016. The sculpture is fifteen feet tall and comprised of repurposed wood and recycled paint. Norbu created this piece for the purpose of educating the public about the harms of deforestation occurring.
Backstory and Context
The full name of this art piece is “Urban Buddha: Be the flower, not the Bee.” Norbu is passionate about educating people about and preventing environmental destruction. He is from Tibet, where deforestation is prominent and wants to alert people to this ongoing problem. With this piece, he not only tries to educate, but is also engaging in preservation methods himself by using recycled materials. Written on the plaque is, "The harmony of nature plays a great role in human survival on Earth. We can learn everything from nature and its creation."
Norbu used 3,500 thousand pounds of reclaimed wood for this project. He went one step further, and even used recycled paint for this project. The materials were donated by a company named ReUse Depot. The piece is estimated to be worth over 30,000.
Norbu’s work is a combination of abstract expressionism and Buddhism. This is evident in the Urban Buddha, with it many bright colors and use of atypical materials. More of Norbu’s art can be viewed at the Worldmuseum in Rotterdam, Netherlands and in Londan at Rossi & Rossi. Sadly, the Urban Buddha is temporary. It was given an initial 6 month contract and is eligible to 6 mores proceeding that.