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Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL

For thousands of years, inhabitants of the Tampa area have relied on the sea. From the earliest Native tribes to the Spanish explorers to the early Cuban immigrants and American colonies these waters have provided the access and resources necessary for its growth and economic development. Believed by some to mean “sticks of fire” in the language of the native Calusa tribe that once lived in the area, the name Tampa is thought to refer to either the lightning strikes common to the region or to the fires used in the Palmetto fields as an early fire management technique. Later, of course, the name became indelibly linked to the cigar industry which proved to be an important catalyst to the growth of the city providing the foundation of the unique mix of personalities and cultures that exist today. Contemplating the elements of water and smoke and their relationship to the history and development of the city, I began to consider their natural as well as alchemistic traits, leading me to imagine the mast of a sailing ship emerging from a cloud of smoke, as if materializing from these narratives of the past.


Rising vertically within the atrium, the artwork speaks to the history of the area and to the unique events that have created its identity. It appears first as a whisp of smoke drifting upward to form the ephemeral image of a billowing sail bringing to mind the countless stories that have been made here and that are still being made today reminding us of the temporal nature of dreams and the miraculous power they can have building upon our hopes, turning them into our realities and charting future courses yet to come.

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