Yvonne Bobo: Where the Wind Plays

Published On 07/11/2011

Location: Clinic Waiting Area
Underwriting Cost: $100,000

No two visitors will view the same piece of art created by local metalsmith Yvonne Bobo for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

This is because Bobo left her design at the mercy of the wind, an unpredictable element that twists and turns the pieces of her metal garden “Where the Wind Plays” into an ever alternating art display.

Yvonne Bobo“Different pieces are moving on different days, and it’s always changing,” said Bobo. “That’s the magical side of it—that each experience is just for you.”

Collaborating with friend and fellow artist Nathan Hence, Bobo used wind turbine designs to create aluminum and metal rotating flowers, nearly 40 total. Three signature pieces, a frog that kicks its legs, a butterfly with a 42-inch wingspan and a crawling caterpillar join 20 wiggling ladybugs in the space outside of the first floor heart and neurosciences clinic waiting area. More than 315 reflectors catch the sunlight as it streams through the hospital’s windows.

Bobo drew inspiration for her display from nature and previous public art pieces commissioned for children. Her work can be seen all over town, from the 20-inch kinetic butterflies at Cancer Survivor’s Park in East Memphis to the planetary themed concrete and metal archway of The Peabody Park in Midtown.

As she worked on the Le Bonheur garden from her studio in Cooper-Young, Bobo said she focused on creating a piece that could capture the imagination.

“In the South, a lot of the community has a negative opinion of art, sometimes. ‘Oh Art, stuff we don’t get,’” said Bobo. “I don’t want people to feel like that. I want them to ask how the art is working…to step out of what they’re doing, step out of their lives for a little while.”

For many of the patients and families at Le Bonheur, the distraction is welcome. Bobo’s whimsical garden is more than a playground for the wind, but also a playpen for the imagination.

Bobo, 39, grew up in Florida and left to attend Boston University, where she graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor’s degree in art history and a minor in fine art. A self-proclaimed “self-taught” artist, Bobo traveled and apprenticed with noted artists and sculptors across the country. She went on to complete graduate work in anthropology in Australia and landed in Memphis 10 years ago.

“It takes real stubbornness and hard work to keep doing art as a profession,” she said. “But it inspires me to see kids, kids who are inspired by art and imitate what they see. If kids are able to see good art, then it’s working in favor of the community, and I think it’s great what Le Bonheur has done.”


If you would like to inquire about underwriting this or any of the other pieces in the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Art Collection, please call the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Foundation at 901-287-6308.