Steel, Granite, Native Plants
Mission Bay, San Francisco, CA
This site was once the shore of Mission Bay, a 5,000 year-old tidal marsh that was habitat to a rich array of flora and fauna. In the early 19th century naturalists observed a dynamic ecosystem full of species whose trace is now obscured by our contemporary landscape.
As the city of San Francisco grew and industrialized during the 19th century, the bay became the site of shipyards, warehouses and railroads. Beginning in the 1860s, Mission Bay was progressively filled in with sand and dirt from nearby development. Eventually, debris from the 1906 earthquake was added to form much of the land that makes up the neighborhood today.
The five panels that form Shadow Kingdom evoke the layered history of the area. Ship masts intersect with topographical and architectural references. A number of the original species that once occupied the bay are depicted throughout the artwork, including bobcat, beaver, elk, raccoon, ground squirrel, coyote, steelhead, salmon, sedge, pickleweed, terns, sandpipers, egrets, American avocet, black-necked stilts, California clipper rail, and kestrels.
When viewed from a distance the sculpture takes the shape of California grizzly bear. Once found in large numbers across the state, wild grizzlies last roamed San Francisco in the mid 1800’s.
As the sun arcs across the sky, these endemic species are projected as shadows back onto the terrain they once inhabited.