“Giant bird sculptures land on Poydras Street”

‘Avian Avatars,’ giant bird sculptures by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein on Poydras St. – Great Horned Owl (Photo by Doug MacCash / | The Times-Picayune)

A small flock of very large birds landed on a desolate stretch of Poydras Street Thursday morning (June 2). The 25-ft-tall great horned owl, the 18-foot falcon, and the similarly sized red tailed hawk, crow and pigeon are sculptures by Boston artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, who call themselves The Myth Makers.

The sculptures are woven from thin, supple sapling trees, Dodson explained.

“The saplings allow us to build very tall, but keep (the structure) very light,” she said. “They have a monumental presence, but they’re also transparent so they have a fleeting, transient feeling.”

The owl, Dodson explained, represents the great spirit. In The Myth Makers’ mythology, the falcon is a sort of critic or tastemaker. The hawk is the avatar for the realist, and the pigeon is a stand-in for tourists.

“You know, we love them and we hate them,” Moerlein said, adding that he recognizes the vitality that visitors provide to big cities.

In addition to the interlaced wood, the sculptures include symbolic man-made materials. The pigeon is studded with golf clubs, the owl flutters with discarded plastic grocery bags, the hawk wears an orange superhero cape made from plastic hazard fencing and the falcon shimmies with hundreds of strands of recycled medical tubing.

Michael Manjarris, the founder of SFNO, said the five sculptures are on loan from the artists for one year, with a possibility of extending the loan to two years. Manjarris said the cost of transporting and installing the sculpture was paid for by The Helis Foundation.

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