Rafter Six Ranch, Laramie, Wyo 2009
“Zarafa: The Burning Giraffe,” sculpture was Initially inspired by a Salvador Dali painting of three burning giraffes in a desert landscape at MoMA. The desert landscape reminded me so much of Black Rock City, I knew I wanted to take the idea to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.
Once upon a time, there was the poor orphan of a giraffe sculpture, unable
to stand on her own thanks to broken legs, neck and other injuries. In fact, she was wired to street light post to stay up right. I had driven past this sad metal contraption so many times. It dawned on me that I
could re-build her and re-make her into an homage to Dali and save her from an early grave in the county dump. I named the piece after the first giraffe brought to France in 1825.
Her name was “Zarafa,” or giraffe in Arabic, and her eponymous biography is a must read, by Michael Allin.
I presented my first ever Fire Sculpture, “Zarafa” on the Playa at Burning Man 2009. Inspired by SRL, My first large-scale steel public art piece,”The Dragon,” was to have fire, way back in the 1980’s. But I was unable to get permission to install a giant propane jet from the City of Boulder, Colorado. Thus making an actual fire sculpture was a long time coming. Black Rock City was great to work with and many thanks to all who helped out at the ARTery. The overwhelming and wonderful response from”Zarafa’s,” crowds of fans was a lovely surprise to say the least. So was winning a Medal & Certificate from a self-appointed Art Judge, way out on the playa, for creative and collaborative service to the people. Thanks buddy, and thanks to everyone who helped make “Zarafa,” a smashing success!
“Zarafa: The Burning Giraffe,” 14ft steel construction from Mexico was re-cycled, re-designed and re-built with custom flaming mane made of seven propane jets by Eric Ringsby and Doug Madden welding in Laramie, WY.