NC State Extension and the NHC Arboretum are hosting art works by local artist, Francisco Negro, also known as Alan Swart.
Francisco’s first piece is named after the artist’s daughter, Stella, is a piece that symbolizes a family’s relationship and the wonder of a man and woman creating a child together. The sculpture’s structure was inspired by ancient Greek grave markers, which were called stelae—the Greek term for pillar or shaft, which Francisco was introduced to while visiting Copan Ruins in Honduras. He composed this piece using a variety of discarded hard woods that were donated by a local Wilmington company, Fitzgerald Wood Products. Francisco stacked the wood slats and bound them together using steel wire to depict a figure on each of the four sides. Two opposing sides are silhouettes of the artist’s wife, Griselda, his daughter, Stella.
The second piece is The Pop Up Last Supper Table. It is a recreation of the original biblical last supper, with a modern take. Influenced by pop-up shops, eateries, and other vendors, Francisco designed this table to be lightweight for convenient portability and use spontaneously for what could be a last supper. The piece is particularly relevant in representing the uncertainty we feel today as a society in regard to people’s health and wellbeing. During Francisco’s creative process for this, he imagined a local person requesting to have a table built for their last supper party within a short notice. The table was built using materials that he had readily available, like old wood and nails. Francisco says, “life has no concise value until we view it through the lens of a limited time offer” and this art piece is an example of how he turned that thought into a tangible object.
The next piece is a spin on the timely phrase “Stop and Smell the Flowers.” The phrase reminds us to be mindful of the present moment into a metaphor, meaning that we should think twice and be more mindful about using single use items— like the aluminum cans and chop sticks that make up this display of a flower patch. He stated, “please stop and smell the absurdity of using any single use items. And if you must, please reduce, reuse, and recycle.” There are 132 cans on chopsticks in this installation. Francisco specifically chose the number of 132 cans because that is the average number that each U.S. citizen disposes per year. In the United States alone there are 45 billion cans that slip through the most effective recycling process of material on earth.
Finally, we have the Flower Tree. Similar to the Stop and Smell the Flowers installation, this sculpture is composed of flattened aluminum cans that are attached to a tree limb with chopsticks. The cans are shown as the leaves of a tree. The colorful metallics of the cans stand out and catch viewer’s eyes. This reminds us that the leaves of trees are one of the most important things nature has provided us with. They are necessary on earth to produce the oxygen that we live and breathe in every moment of our lives.
Come visit the New Hanover County Arboretum!
The artist can be reached at email@example.com.