In 2009 Stan Herd made his first trip to Sao Paulo to meet Film maker James Lloyd about the possibility of a permanent earthwork in Brazil.
“James ‘got’ my work, the collaborative nature of it, the artistic and cultural platform that a earthwork might create, along with the issues of the environment and the land that the work embraces”
Herd would return to Brazil in 2012 to meet with the film maker and with Julio Cesar de Baras, Environmental director for the city of Rio, to begin work on a smaller permanent work in the Manquinhos Favela in the center of the city.
The artist had established contact with Julio through Lea Rekow, director of Green My Favela, an environmental remediation organization helping establish green spaces in Brazil’s favela’s. Herd’s work is about building relationships.
Herd’s decision to create a larger permanent design near an airport would be a companion piece to the introductory work in the Manquinhos Favela. The two acre design ‘Young Woman of Brazil’ has been targeted for land just off the runway of the newly renovated Viracopos airport southwest of Sao Paulo.
“It is imperative for the large works to have an audience and we were lucky to find an abandoned clay quarry to create the earthwork under the landing pattern of over one million people per year.”
‘Young Woman of Brazil’ speaks to the countries embrace of Women’s issue’s such as the Bolsa Familia program and the governments renewed focus on Favela’s, along with the election of Brazil’s first female President. Lea Rekow believes the earthworks might bring positive attention to humanitarian and cultural programs and efforts taking hold in the National consciousness as Brazil heads towards the 2016 Olympics.
To help raise attention and support for Herd’s three year South American project to create a permanent work, the artist and his crew created a ‘Proof of Concept’ design in the historical Stockyards district in Kansas City, just off the landing strip at the Downtown Executive airport.
Working with developer and cattleman Bill Haw, the one quarter sized image of ‘Young Woman of Brazil’ is being created out of 7,500 bricks, plants, grasses and soil.
The permanent two acre earthwork, if fully realized, would create an image consisting of dozens of garden and planting beds, connected by pathways, created out of recycled materials, with the help of local artists, school children, gardeners and students from nearby universities. As with Lea Rekow’s Green My Favela, the hope is that the local gardeners could raise produce for local schools and possibly for the market place.