This Fish Is Watching You | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

This Fish Is Watching You

She's posed in a lime green beach chair wearing a hot pink net dress. She wears pearls, and on her head is a crown. A scepter graces her lap. Your typical Sweet Potato Queen? No, but a queen none the less. She is CleoCatra, Queen of the Pearl, a seven-foot-long fiberglass sculpture of a catfish by artist Miriam Weems. Along with 39 other sculptures, she will be on display in downtown Jackson from Thurs., May 1 through Sept. 30.

Mississippi Catfish on Parade, based on the Cows on Parade in Chicago and New York, Fins on Parade in New Orleans and Pigs on Parade in Little Rock, is a fund-raiser for the Mississippi Commission for Cultural Exchange. The commission brings exhibits to town such as the "Palaces of St. Petersburg" in 1996, and soon will be bringing the "Glory of Baroque Dresden."

The days before the catfish debut in various points around town are a bit tense. "It's crazy around here with catfish!" Ellen Gully, director of volunteers for the commission, says. Some of the other sculptures include a painted collage done by the Mustard Seed Children and sponsored by Max Furniture. "Catfish on a Hot Tin Roof" promises to be an exact replica of Elizabeth Taylor (and installed on an actual tin roof). And Katarina Fishova, sponsored by the International Ballet Competition, wears both a pink tutu and pink toe shoes.

There are still sponsorships available, Gully says. Sponsors pay $2,000 and have the option to buy the piece for an additional $500 when the exhibit is over; Otherwise, the pieces will be auctioned off, with the money going to the commission.

The idea is to use local talent to help entice more tourists and visitors into downtown. "We're trying to emphasize a wonderful outdoor art event," Gully says. The event kicks off Thursday at 4 p.m. with a "walkabout," touring all of the installations. The commission has asked for sponsors to make a party atmosphere around their sculptures.

Why would you go look at a fish in front of some downtown building? "It just makes you smile," Gully says.

Previous Comments

ID
63914
Comment

I was on the painting crew of one of the fish, the one with Persistance of Memory on it with a big Dali mustache, and just a couple days after it was installed, I found out that it had been vandalized: part of the carefully hand-sculpted mustache had been broken off. We've had to remove it for repairs. There have been several other cases of vandalism with these fish, including one being removed. What gives? Are people so thoughtless as to not realize what kind of effort (and money!) goes into putting these up, or are they so malicious as to enjoy the thought of destroying the result of that effort? Is a little artistic colour more than Jacksonians can take?

Author
sarah baggett
Date
2003-05-05T18:31:11-06:00
ID
63915
Comment

That is sad, Sarah. But I don't think it's a problem that's limited to Jackson. Any city that displays outdoor art has to endure acts of vandalism against it, just as kids decide to vandalize mascots outside schools in small towns. And there are classless people of all ages -- you wouldn't believe what people will do to newspaper racks, for instance, throwing trash in them and the like. Just like week, our publisher and account manager watched an employee of a new free mag walk into a restaurant, pick up our newspapers out of our rack, throw them on the floor, put theirs in and walk out. They and the restaurant management stared at each other incredulously. But our response is not to do the same thing; we have to realize that some people are like that and keep doing what we're doing, whether it's creating beautiful outdoor art or putting out a free magazine. Enough people will appreciate those creative efforts that the others won't matter.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-05T22:00:36-06:00
ID
63916
Comment

I love them! I saw them this past weekend and was giddy with excitement. Anything that brings a touch of creativity or beauty to our CBD is a plus! Respect to those behind this project!

Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-06T10:33:55-06:00
ID
63917
Comment

My favorite so far, I think, is the catfish in front of the old Greyhound bus station-turned-architect studio. So cool!

Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-06T12:12:19-06:00
ID
63918
Comment

Found this on CL today... Thought I'd post another article about the fish (including vandalism). Vandals targeting art project -- CL

Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-08T10:23:23-06:00
ID
63919
Comment

yeah, you're right i know, i just like to think people wouldn't do that (that's the silly optimist in me). that newspaper incident is pretty outrageous... i would be so angry. well our fish has been repaired and is getting put back up soon, so all is well. my fave of what i've seen is the mondrian fish... so nifty. i know seeing them around town makes me happy, so i'm guessing it does the same for others; therefore, i win. :)

Author
Sarah Baggett
Date
2003-05-19T19:00:50-06:00
ID
63920
Comment

yeah, you're right i know, i just like to think people wouldn't do that (that's the silly optimist in me). that newspaper incident is pretty outrageous... i would be so angry. well our fish has been repaired and is getting put back up soon, so all is well. my fave of what i've seen is the mondrian fish... so nifty. i know seeing them around town makes me happy, so i'm guessing it does the same for others; therefore, i win. :)

Author
Sarah Baggett
Date
2003-05-19T19:00:58-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus