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Artist - Tom Otterness
Born - 1952
Origin - America
Year Built - 2008
About the Artist: Tom Otterness is a native son of Wichita, Kansas, who now calls New York City home. Known across the country and around the world for their wit and whimsy, his public sculptures can be found at Texas Tech University; the United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon; the State Library of Münster, Germany; and the Wichita Art Museum, among many other cultural and civic institutions. These sculptures have an immediately recognizable style that abounds with rounded, cartoon-like animal and human figures. Often these characters appear as though they are caught mid-scene in a familiar fairytale or myth. Always playful and engaging, Otterness's sculptures are also rich with content. With them, he poses questions about how we relate to one another and the world around us.
Wichita State University's Millipede is part of this family of whimsical, thoughtful creatures. In his proposal to create this giant, friendly bug for the campus, Otterness explained: "I find the Millipede a great work for the site within the context of the University. A millipede's body is composed of linked segments working together and heading in one direction. ... The content relates to the playful surreal birds and insect within [the Miró mural], Personnages Oiseaux. The Millipede within the tulip beds presents a symbiotic relationship—millipedes eat tulips in fact. The sectioned construction of the Millipde also relates to Andy Goldsworthy's Wichita Arch."