Transcript Staff

"Fragility" is an impermanent installation made up of 6,000 raw clay "figures" placed in the parched earth setting of central Oklahoma. Over time, the weather will return the figures back to the earth.

"I chose the number 6,000 as there are just over six billion people on earth and approximately 6,000 languages," said Valerie Wedel, a Norman High School graduate and sculpture student at the University of Missouri.

She said the installation represents mass movements of people in harsh conditions, humanity's place on Earth, as well as individuals' fragile nature.

Wedel, who regularly returns to Oklahoma for artistic inspiration, said the figures are made out of unfired clay to symbolize impermanence and to emphasize the idea that as humans come from the earth, they shall return to it.

"The figures are approaching a water source, symbolizing an oasis," she said. "When I began this project in 2002, the world population was estimated at 6.2 billion. It is now up to 6.6 billion. By 2011, the projected human population is seven billion."

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