GALVESTON — A dolphin statue carved from red sandstone and meant to celebrate gender and sexual minorities will be unveiled today.
Carved by artist Joe Joe Orangias, with scientist Frank Prega and writer Sarah Sloane, the dolphin monument will be unveiled at 5 p.m. in R.A. Apffel Park.
“When I arrived on the island in September, I started looking at how minority groups are represented in public spaces,” Orangias said. “I came across the Pink Dolphin Tavern and used that symbol after spending time with the community there.”
The statue will be the first in Texas to represent sexual and gender minorities, Orangias said.
“There are starting to be more monuments for gender and sexual minorities around the world, so this piece adds to that network in a way,” Orangias said.
Orangias said he worked to integrate local materials into the construction of the dolphin. For instance, the red sandstone used was found in a quarry in Corpus Christi.
He worked to connect the monument with the infrastructure of its donation site.
“The pedestal on the dolphin is based on columns holding up the pavilion to integrate it into the site,” Orangias said. “This way, the monument is supported by the architecture of the building.”
After five months of work, the dolphin carving emerged from the sandstone. Orangias carved leftover chips into triangles and buried them around the island to further incorporate the monument into the landscape, he said.
“With all of my work, I try to do something with the leftover pieces,” he said. “So, I do a lot of recycling with my sculptures. I carved each chip into a triangle and buried them all over the island to conceptualize my piece into the landscape.”
Along with the dolphin, the monument includes a poem on its pedestal.
“Joe Joe approached me about six months ago and asked me to write a short poem to accompany a monument he was designing,” Sloane said. “It took me probably two weeks.”
Sloane collaborated with Orangias to write the poem, sending him stanzas and ideas throughout the writing process.