Categories: 9/11, art, living

Steve Tobin's bronze sculpture, Roots. Image source:

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.  ~Confucius

Steve Tobin’s sculpture, Roots, is mentioned in What Remains?

Outside Trinity Church, perched on the empty flagstone courtyard facing Wall Street, lightly rests Steve Tobin’s bronze sculpture,Roots.  Recovered from the suffocating rubble of collapsed concrete and shattered glass from the 9/11 attacks, this massive root structure from a seventy-year old sycamore tree fell into St. Paul’s churchyard in downtown Manhattan that fateful morning, missing the church itself and surrounding tombstones.  The roots remained.  Transplanted as a symbol of hope and memorial of struggle, to me the sculpture looks like an anatomically correct heart with chambers, veins, aorta, exposed for the world to see it survived, still pumping life.  Decorated for Christmas, I notice a glittery star suspended in the center of the skeletal root canopy, blowing in the wind.  Interior light from the church’s stained glass gothic window mottles the bronze surface in a slight spectrum of color.  A permanent fixture, Tobin’s sculpture is not part of the Phenomena Project’s exhibition, All Insignificant Things Must Disappear, but it is….

Time passes and we are approaching the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in 2011. We are in the season of giving and All Insignificant Things Must Disappear makes me think about what we share with one another.  What is our purpose here on earth?  Do the works we perform have meaning not only for ourselves but for others?  How can we connect to each other beyond the material world and what will we leave behind (that is significant) to share with future generations?


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