Internationally Renowned Artist Daniel Popper Installs His First Sculpture in Colorado at The Aurora Highlands
The 21-foot-tall interactive sculpture will have a permanent place within Hogan Park at Highlands Creek, the master-planned community’s public art park.
AURORA, CO (Aug 3, 2023) – Daniel Popper, an internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary artist from South Africa, is set to install his interactive, 21-foot-tall sculpture “Umi” in The Aurora Highlands’ public art park, Hogan Park at Highlands Creek. Umi will be available for the public to view on August 19. It will be Popper’s debut installation in Colorado, where he and his wife once lived.
The sculpture, which depicts the convergence of woman and tree, will stand more than two-stories tall with a designated space within the art for the public to explore. Umi, which means “ocean” in Japanese, was inspired by the concept of “Gaia”, the primordial mother and ancestral goddess who shaped and nurtured all life.
Known for his large-scale, figurative works that explore the connection between humans and nature, Popper’s installations have graced countless public and private spaces worldwide, including Afrikaburn in his home country South Africa, Boom Festival in Portugal, and Electric Daisy Carnival and Electric Forest in The United States.
“Colorado, with its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities, in many ways is a second home to me, offering a nurturing haven away from our beloved Cape Town, South Africa,” Popper said. “With Umi finding her permanent home in Colorado, I am filled with deep gratitude and excitement. The Aurora Highlands has infused a profound appreciation for artistic expression into Umi and its public art park, Hogan Park at Highlands Creek. We hope these installations will serve as a beacon of inspiration, elevating and illuminating the hearts and minds of Aurora and Colorado as a whole.”
Carla Ferreira, director of on-site development and principal at The Aurora Highlands, has curated the community’s growing public collection. She first saw Popper’s work in Miami and began seeking out his many large-scale installations during her travels.
“Daniel’s art masterfully weaves together the essence of nature and humanity, creating awe-inspiring installations in spaces where people can come together and experience an overwhelming sense of unity and positivity,” Ferreira explained. “It’s what I’ve always admired about his work, and I could not be more honored to call The Aurora Highlands home to Umi. The grand scale and interactive features of this installation are captivating, making it impossible not to engage with. It’s inspiring to witness how artistic expressions like this ignite conversations and curiosity, even among those who might not initially be drawn to art. Umi perfectly represents our commitment to fostering vibrant communities that celebrate life and the beauty of human connection.”
Hogan Park at Highlands Creek was originally built as a flood plain to mitigate rain water buildup. Ferreira decided to create a beautiful public park out of the plain with two miles of walking trails and works of art. It will eventually feature performance plazas, climbing walls, a zip line, embankment slides and gardens in its nearly 100-acre space. The park is open to both residents and visitors.
Umi’s installation will be completed on August 19, when visitors can come visit Umi for themselves.
UMI FACT SHEET
Installed: August 2023
Location: The Aurora Highlands, Hogan Park at Highlands Creek
Height: 21 feet
Materials: Glass fiber reinforced concrete and steel
ARTIST STATEMENT ON UMI:
“Umi is an extraordinary embodiment of the interconnectedness between humanity and the natural world, inspired by the profound concept of Gaia as envisioned by environmental scientist John Lovelock. In his holistic understanding of the Earth as a self-regulating organism, Lovelock introduced Gaia, the primordial mother and ancestral goddess who shaped and nurtured all life. Umi, meaning ‘ocean’ in Japanese, merges the essence of woman and tree, intertwining these metaphors of Gaia to create a captivating, sculpted form.
Colorado, with its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities, in many ways feels like a second home to me, offering a nurturing haven away from our beloved Cape Town, South Africa. My wife and I spent a few years in this beautiful state when we lived in the US, and with Umi finding her permanent home in Colorado, I am filled with deep gratitude and excitement. The Aurora Highlands team has infused this extraordinary project with an unwavering commitment to the visual arts. Their profound appreciation for artistic expression serves as a beacon of inspiration and will elevate and illuminate the hearts and minds of Aurora.
This installation represents a harmonious blend of art and nature, a testament to the enduring bond that unites us with our environment. As Umi stands tall, she invites viewers to contemplate their connection to the Earth, encouraging a profound sense of wonder and a renewed commitment to safeguarding our planet’s future.
May Umi serve as a symbol of unity, inspiration, and reverence for the magnificence of Mother Earth, reminding us of our role as custodians of this wondrous living organism. In the spirit of Gaia, Umi embraces us all and calls upon us to cherish and protect the delicate balance of life that sustains us.” – Daniel Popper
About Daniel Popper
South African born Daniel Popper is a multidisciplinary artist who has become known worldwide for his awe-inspiring and thought-provoking sculptures. His large-scale, figurative works explore the connection between humans and nature and have been exhibited in numerous public and private spaces across the globe.
Drawing on his extensive multidisciplinary background, Daniel’s artistic vision merges traditional and contemporary techniques to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that leave a lasting impression on their audiences. He is constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries of what is possible, working with a variety of materials such as wood, fiberglass and GFRC (Glass fiber reinforced concrete) to construct his pieces.
Daniel’s work has been showcased at some of the world’s biggest art, design and music festivals, including Afrikaburn in South Africa, Boom Festival in Portugal, Electric Daisy Carnival, Electric Forest in the USA and many more. His collaborations with private property developers and public institutions have resulted in permanent installations in locations such as Florida, Croatia, Joshua Tree and The Morton Arboretum in Illinois, where in March 2023 he concluded a two-year exhibition.
Through his incredible talent and unwavering commitment to his craft, Daniel Popper has become a driving force in the contemporary art scene, inspiring audiences around the world with his captivating works of art.
ABOUT THE AURORA HIGHLANDS’ PUBLIC ART COLLECTION
Throughout the two-mile length of Hogan Park at Highlands Creek within The Aurora Highlands master-planned community in Aurora, Colorado, residents and the public can enjoy permanent public art installations from world-renowned contemporary artists like Daniel Popper, Olivia Steele, Hunter Brown and Lisa Solberg. The “Art in the Park” program is meant to encourage creativity, sustainability, positivity and community among art enthusiasts and novices alike. More than 20 permanent public art installations will be installed over the next several years. The park will also feature performance plazas, climbing walls, a zip line, embankment slides and gardens in its nearly 100-acre space.
ABOUT THE AURORA HIGHLANDS
Located between the mountains and the plains, The Aurora Highlands 4,000-acre master planned community expands the metro area to the east near Denver International Airport. The community will feature every category of housing from attached to multi-family and single-family residences, providing people with more than 12,500 housing units. The community also incorporates Colorado’s active lifestyle with recreation centers and over 21 miles of trials, 12 neighborhood parks and 20 pocket parks. Hogan Park at Highlands Creek in particular will feature public art installations, performance plazas, climbing walls, a zip line, embankment slides and gardens in its nearly 100-acre space. Aurora Public Schools will also build four new schools in the community, the first of which will open for the 2023-2024 school year. For more information about The Aurora Highlands, please visit www.theaurorahighlands.com or call the Visitor Center at 720-356-0123.