From South Africa to Texas… Burning Man 2012 Regional Art

This bull rising out of the sand is titled ReinCOWnation by the Houston, Texas Burners who created him for Burning Man 2012.

Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man, is a visionary with long-term plans. What started as a local burn on the beach in San Francisco in 1986 has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with local Burners from South Africa to Texas reproducing regionally the experiences they have had in the remote Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada.

This regionalization was demonstrated at Burning Man 2012 when 34 wooden effigies designed and built by local groups were placed in a circle around the Man. They were burned simultaneously on Thursday night in an impressive ceremony of just how far Burning Man’s roots have extended.

I am going to introduce several of the regional art works today and include links to where more information can be found about each piece. In my last blog on Burning Man’s 2012 art, I noted that I was limited to a few representative pieces. This is also true of the regional art. Go to Burning Man’s art core project to learn about the overall effort and other included effigies.

In my next blog, I will cover Thursday’s fiery end of the regional art.

I never realized that queen bees were amply endowed. But apparently they are according to Utah Burners who built this sculpture named the Secret of Bees. (Photo by Tom Lovering)

This was my view of the lady bee. Each year Burning Man selects a theme for the year. In 2012 it was fertility. Most of the regional art is tied to this theme.

Speaking of fertility, South Africa Burners brought Jozi to Burning Man 2012. This sculpture is a replica of an African fertility god.

Native Americans historically turned to Kokopelli for help with fertility. Ancient rock art representations of this trickster god and his large, um appendage, can be found from Canada to Mexico. Versions found in gift shops throughout the West have been sanitized. New Mexico Burners were responsible for bringing Kokopelli Rising to Burning Man. (Photo by Tom Lovering)

The end result of all this emphasis on fertility is of course a baby, or Baby Bon Temps Brulee, as named by New Orleans Burners. It is easy to picture King Baby on top of a Mardi Gras float.

Moving away from the Fertility theme, the Burners of the Great Lakes region created Soul Train for Burning Man. (Photo by Beth Lovering)

Making its way across the Ocean and US, the Viking ship Naglfar sailed into the Black Rock Desert courtesy of Burners from Denmark and Sweden.

Maine Burners appropriately brought “Happy as a Clam” to Black Rock City. In fact many of the regions, like the Danes above, created art that was representative of their area.

If you have ever driven or walked through downtown Reno, you will certainly recognize the inspiration for “Gateway” created by Nevada Burners. Reno has claimed the title “Biggest Little City in the World” for decades.

Dallas Burners brought a sculpture, the Hatchery, to Burning Man 2012 that produced fire art at night. Much of Burning Man art is designed to light up the night.

The Dragon Lotus from Denver.

My favorite among the regional art pieces was the lighthouse created by Burners from Northern California. This work of art was created from driftwood found along the North Coast, one of my favorite playgrounds.

Another view of the lighthouse. North Bay Burners titled their work “The Twisted Upright House.”

A final view featuring the stained glass windows on top. The windows were removed before the lighthouse was burned on Thursday night, an event which I will show in my next blog.