Artist contributes two sculptures to metro

“THRESHOLD” depicts a leaf from the Combretacae family of plants, which is known for having simple leaf structures. Photo: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

On the heels of the new sculpture unveiled at the Des Moines International Airport on Dec. 6, the past week saw two more sculptures installed in Greater Des Moines. Both were created by Juanjo Novella, an artist from Bilbao, Spain, who focuses on sculptures in public spaces and takes inspiration from nature.

“THRESHOLD” was installed at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden last week. Commissioned by the Greater Des Moines Public Arts Foundation, the 16-foot-tall sculpture is of a Combretacae leaf, a type of leaf that can be found on maple or oak trees in Iowa. The artwork is Novella’s first public art installation in a U.S. botanical garden. “From a distance, [the work]appears to be a delicate leaf that may have floated through the air and gently landed in the dry meadow,” Novella said in a prepared statement. “It stands as a towering, twisted form made of iron. Its lace-like surface of veins gives form to a dramatic Combretaceae leaf.”

Representing a welcoming gateway for the city of Pleasant Hill, “Pleasant Hill Gate” was installed in the 77-acre Hickory Glen Park. The 26-foot-tall sculpture was created in Novella’s workshop in Spain before being shipped to its new home. Funding for the artwork was provided by Bravo Greater Des Moines and private donors.

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