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A Sculptor Brought His Art to the Sky



By: Sebastian Yan


On June 18th, a young sculptor named Desmond Lewis created an unexpected piece of art: a pyrotechnic display, for the residents at Greenwood, a small city located on the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta. Lewis’s fireworks lit up the dark sky as Greenwood celebrated a very special Juneteenth.


Desmond Lewis is an artist from Memphis, Tennessee, who primarily creates abstract steel structures to reflect the importance of African-Americans in our society. One of his previous works, “America’s Forgotten”, provides a perfect example of Lewis’ artistic style as well as his passion for large sculptures. The sculpture stood 16 feet high on the campus of University of Memphis, featuring broken links of chains branching off of a vertical concrete cylinder.


Lewis’ inspiration for this unique pyrotechnic display came from his visual research. When investigating a sculptural representation of explosions, he realized that the flame of a firework closely resembled those of a burning car. He then experimented with his pyrotechnic art, lighting up the firework in three concrete columns during his residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Sarah Workneh, the co-director of Skowhegan, was thrilled by Lewis’ new artistic representation. After the success of the initial experiment, Lewis decided to put it onto a bigger stage.


On the night of Juneteenth, Lewis began his display as scheduled. The fireworks lit up the sky with pink and green flashes. Hundreds of people gathered at the small city to witness a special celebration of their holiday.


“Sensational”, said the event’s organizer Kamron Daniels, summing up an amazing pyrotechnic display. Mayor Carolyn McAdams added “it was a great event for Greenwood”. With the support from the administrators and residents, people are now looking forward to such a special show for the upcoming holiday celebrations.

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