Alligators, turtles and other colorful pieces of artwork are drawing attention to the Miami Dade College Freedom Tower, part of an exhibit that coincides with Art Basel.
Aerial images on Friday showed large green, red and blue alligators on the sides of the tower, positioned to look as if they’re climbing toward the building’s cupola.
An orange alligator with a large water bottle strapped to its back, as well as a large red rabbit, lingered outside the Freedom Tower entrance, at 600 Biscayne Blvd., footsteps from the downtown Miami traffic.
The opening of the exhibit, titled "ForEverglades," is scheduled for Friday night, giving a chance to the display artwork by artist William Sweetlove and the Cracking Art Group of Italy, said Gloria Porcella, a curator and director of the Galleria Ca’ d’Oro.
The artists, who used recyclable materials to create the animal figures, want to bring attention to the importance of protecting the environment, she said. “In a joyful way, they talk about a big problem: the environment,” she said. “We have to take care of our planet.”
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Boots and water bottles worn by the animal figures symbolize the kind of protection they might need if they were to face a harsher environment, she said. Also part of the exhibit are figures of fishermen, which symbolize a threat to the animals.
"The animals are escaping from the men," she said.
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Seeing the display may give adults an opportunity to discuss the issue with children, Porcella said.
“It will let them discuss how to recycle and how to take care of the environment,” she said.
The display at the Freedom Tower isn’t the only large one featuring an alligator. “Gator in the Bay,” a multi-phase art project, next month will feature a gigantic alligator floating in Biscayne Bay during Art Basel.
The 11th edition of the prestigious Art Basel art show in Miami Beach is scheduled from Dec. 6-9. It will have more than 260 galleries from around the world, showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
“It’s big to the whole art world," said one local artist, the 305 Kid. "It’s probably the biggest art show in the whole world, and we’re lucky enough to host it in Miami."