Collection Name: Utah State Public Art Collection
George S. and Dolores Dor...
Copyright: Copyright All Years. Utah Division of Arts & Museums. All Rights Reserved.
View all works by: Dan Gerhart
Wetlands is a bronze sculpture of an Ibis merged with a floodgate created by sculptor Dan Gerhart for the Eccles Wildlife Education Center at Farmington Bay in Utah.
Wetlands references ancient Egyptian Ibis sculptures of the god Thoth. These archaic Egyptian sculptures merged magnificent bronze heads, necks, and legs with bodies formed of wood or stone. The Ibis of Wetlands has a finely sculpted head and legs cast in bronze, with the body formed of an industrial floodgate.
The floodgate body emphasizes the crucial role of maintaining local wetlands for the millions of water fowl that rely on the threatened watershed of the Great Salt Lake, and the conservation ethic of Farmington Bay: only through active freshwater management of manually operating 200 freshwater floodgates is the man-made bay viable as avian habitat. Even though the Ibis were considered a sacred aspect of the god Thoth, the Ibis went extinct on the Nile Delta in the 19th Century due to industrial scale human habitat destruction of wetlands and saline mudflats.
The Utah Great Salt Lake basin provides habitat for about 55,500 White Faced Ibis, more than half of the 100,000 Ibis in all of North America. Ibis are just one species of many, numbering millions of birds, that rely on this critical habitat along the Great Western Flyway of migration from South America to the Arctic.
Wetlands honors Department of Wildlife Resources’ efforts to conserve the finite water resources to the Jordan River’s delta into Farmington Bay, standing as a signifier of human impacts and our local responsibility to actively engage in conservation.