The restoration of the Gandhi statue Waikiki will focus on the following 3 aspects:
1. Sculpture patina : The present patina is far too dark and glossy (on right). It blends into the surrounding landscape and virtually disappears in day or night conditions. Gandhi was a man of the earth. The project will change the patina to a rich terra-cotta as it would look in the original clay done by the artist (on left). This is a much softer, lighter, friendlier look which would show off the details and form of the piece. Because it is so much lighter, it would stand out with or without lighting. You can see the difference in the patina between the two.
2. Landscape design : The present setting for the sculpture is sandwiched between a concrete walkway and a banyan tree. Nothing in the existing design separates the Gandhi statue from the rest of the Park. There are small palms and bushes behind the sculpture but your eye really goes to the area further in the background that’s lit by the sun. The surrounding “floor” is made up of 8” x 16” concrete block caps, more concrete that has gone dark gray to black with use. It’s an uninteresting, uninviting place with nowhere to sit. It’s a wonderful sculpture but the surroundings do not do it justice. Here are the plans to change this :
a. Build a semicircular 3′ tall x 2′ wide stucco planter behind the sculpture that supports a cantilevered bench. This U shape surrounds and nests the piece and creates an “open arms” welcoming effect. We would also paint it in a cream white or sandy color which will totally contrast with the dark vegetation surrounding it and grab the attention of passing pedestrians. Planting colorful flowers or shrubs in the planter will brighten the whole surrounding. There is now an existing park irrigation line right there that we can attach to to keep this watered. The existing palms can be moved and replanted to the back of the planter to add to this sense of unique privacy.
b. Write an interesting biographical story on Gandhi that can be spread on three bronze plaques which can be attached to the sides of the sculpture pedestal and be easily read while sitting on the bench.
c. Remove the existing concrete block “floor”, pour a new foundation and lay Gold Idaho Quartzite flagstone. This is a particular variety of quartzite that has traces of iron oxide that give the stone a red earth quality. This is a warm, friendly color that matches the fallen leaves from the trees allowing the leaves to blend in and be less noticeable. Setting in flagstone creates a more natural look without all the rectilinear lines you get from tiles which can be very visually distracting. Quartzite also holds up well with heavy traffic and doesn’t mildew like concrete.
3. Lighting : Good, directed lighting is essential to make the sculpture and this park within a park stand out. We would do two things to make this happen. First, install indirect LED lighting under the cantilevered bench on the planter to softly illuminate the flagstone and the plaques on the pedestal. Second, modify the existing double lamp park light pole by removing the lamp closest to the sculpture and installing two adjustable spots that can be directed specifically toward the sculpture. Leaving the second lamp as is would continue the required lighting for the walkway.
Making these changes would transform the experience of the Gandhi Park completely. It would define the space as its own and create an inviting and delightful refuge that would bring attention to this wonderful sculpture and allow more of Mahatma Gandhi’s important story to be told.
Two side plaques with one inset engraved image each : 18.5” H x 34” W and one end plaque with one inset image : 18.5” H x 24.5” W. Includes shipping, handling and installation.
In order to get the City’s approval, we had to find the original sculptor, Stephen C. Lowe, and get his written permission to change the patina. He is Shawnee Indian and sculpted the piece in an old converted church in Staten Island destined for its final home in Honolulu. What an amazing testament to the international impact of Gandhi’s message! We intend to cover his airfare from Arkansas to attend the unveiling so he can share the story behind creating the piece.