Nāga Swing Set
Mosaic Project — Smither Park, Houston
Nāga (Thai: พญานาค) are mythical serpent-like creatures believed to live in Thailand’s Mekong river and estuaries. In China, the nāga are equated with dragons. The Buddhist nāga are generally depicted as a giant cobra, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. Nāga is also the Sanskrit word for a deity, entity, or being which takes the form of a very great snake. Sculptures of these creatures adorn the hand railings I have seen while traveling throughout Thailand. They are most often situated as guardians to many of the Thai temples, and are my inspiration for building these mosaic dragon-like serpent-birds that appear to be devouring each other as they slink across the length of the Smither Park swing set structures. The four Nāgas wrap around each of the swing set pillars and function as guardians of the park ruling over the four directions of the compass while representing the four elements – earth, air, fire and water.
Concept and design by Lisa, with initial assistance by mosaic artist Steven Bernard Jones, and in collaboration with Sammy Hassan, the project is nearly complete. Commissioned by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art and the Smither family, the piece is scheduled for completion by Spring 2018. Special thanks go to Daltile, Brazos Contractors, and LaNova Tile for their tile donations.
Top: Winning Commission Drawing. Paint markers & ink on paper, 2015. Bottom: Re-design to accommodate safety issues.
3/4 View, Fall 2017.
Working on dragon half-round bellies inside studio at Project Row Houses, Third Ward, Houston Winter 2016.
Sammy holding up the dragon belly for fit test.
Panoramic view, late Summer 2016.
Just a few scales for the dragon bellies.
First dragon head up, the female... August 2016.
Dragon wings up, July 2016.
Steve Jones and Lisa at work in the outdoor studio at the Orange Show on Munger St. Summer 2016.