I would like to share, with you, a special event that happened at The Art Institute of Chicago. During the first week of February, I prearranged a surprise for Valentine’s Day, the one-year anniversary with girl friend, Tery. With all the arrangements in place, on the morning of February the 14th, and with the assistance of the managers from the Art Institute’s Garden Restaurant, I assembled one of my art pieces in museum’s courtyard. After covering the piece with a tablecloth, so it could not be viewed until the right moment, I awaited for Tery’s arrival. She arrived in the lobby of the museum at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Perfect timing.
We strolled through the museum to the Garden Restaurant where we had lunch at table 14, which overlooks courtyard. As we were finishing with our meal, the waiter passed by our table to ask if there would be anything else that we would need. After telling him that we would like to see the desert menu, I stood from my chair and asked Tery to join me in the courtyard, for I had something to show her. I took Tery by the hand and guided her to a bench right outside of the restaurant.
Standing in front of the bench where Tery sat, was a table, which supported my art piece. While I was unveiling the piece, Tery recognized it to be the table-top waterfall that I had been working on for months prior. The waterfall stands 33? high and 22? wide. The center piece resembles a stained glass window, made up of colorful 1? glass cubes and decorative marbles that are 1? in diameter. The mosaic glass is suspended by a rectangular shaped, hollow metal frame that protrudes from the tempered glass basin of the fall. A water pump, submerged in the basin, pumps water through the metal frame, and out tiny hole in the top piece of the frame. The water flows down the glass and back into the basin, which is all supported by a geometrically shaped, wooden stand.
?With a puzzled look on her face, she asked me, “is the museum going to display your waterfall?” Taking a seat beside her, I explained to Tery that I had told the museum the story behind the waterfall and that I would like to display my piece, in the courtyard, on Valentine’s Day. Then I asked, “Would you like to know the meaning behind the waterfall?” “Yes”, she exclaimed.
?The title of the piece is: Waiting for the Si. There are three different spellings and meanings to the word “Si”, which I have used in the waterfall. As the water flows down the glass, it is united in the body of water at the base of the piece. This body of water symbolizes the sea; representing unity, strength, and oneness. The second meaning of the word see is spelled S-E-E ”Sight” Back in the early 1800?s sight was brought to the world of the blind through a code invented by Louis Braille; the Braille Code. The marbles that you can see within the glass is actually Braille Code. But the true title of the piece is: Waiting for the Si – Si, spelled S-I. In the Italian and Spanish languages, meaning yes. Waiting for the yes, “Do you want to know what the message, in Braille Code, says?”
Tery was trying to calculate everything that I had just told her. “Yes”, she said. “What does it say?”
“Here, let me teach you Braille.” I grabbed her by the hand and walked her over to the piece. As I raised her hand towards the glass, while simultaneously asking her to close her eyes, I rubbed her fingers across the first word in Braille Code. “Will.” “Then the second word ‘you.’” “The third word ‘marry.’” Her whole body began to tremble as my pulse quickened. The last word me?”
I dropped to one knee, pulled a small box out of my coat pocket, and displayed to her an engagement ring. She fell to her knees and as tears were streaming down her face, she said “yes.” Overcome with joy, I slid the ring onto her finger and then embraced her in a hug that seemed to last for hours. When we finally stood up we noticed that the windows to the courtyard were lined with people applauding us and snapping photos.
In an effort to catch our breath, we sat back down on the bench. And after a few minutes of absorbing the moment, I explained to Tery that there was more to the waterfall. “Do you see the translucent X that stretches from the four corners of the glass?” “Well, it’s not really an X, it’s a symbol. The ancient symbol for man is an up-side-down V, called the blade the shape of the pyramids the original phallic symbol. The blade makes up the bottom part of the X. The top part of the X is the ancient symbol for woman, called the chalice “the V,” “the Cup,” the shape of the woman’s womb. And as the blade and the chalice merge in the center of the piece, they are uniting in marriage.
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