Daniel Popper Human + Nature Exhibition in Chicago’s Morton Arboretum

daniel popper morton arboretum hero IIHIH

Daniel Popper Human + Nature, an ongoing exhibition showing at Chicago’s Morton Arboretum through 2023, just unveiled the newest three of eight enormous sculptures on the grounds. And we have photos of all of them for you.

Daniel Popper Human + Nature

artist daniel popper

Exploring the metaphysical relationship between all conscious beings and our connection to nature, South African artist Popper and his team (Robert Bernicchi, Samuel Murgatroyd and Chrisy Charles) have now constructed and installed a total of eight large-scale figurative sculptures made of steel, FGRC (Fibre Glass Reinforced Cement), fiberglass, wood, rope and natural fibers across the Arboretum’s 1700 acres.

daniel popper human + nature ganged IIHIH

The Human Nature exhibit includes 8 sculptures commissioned by The Morton Arboretum. The first five have been up for awhile and the three most recent additions, Ginko, Mycelia and Ephemera, have just been installed.

Ginko is made of cast aluminum and features 100 Ginko leaves surrounding her face in honor of the Morton Arboretum Centennial. Celebrating 100 years of planting and protecting trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.

Ginko Daniel Popper

“The Arboretum is a ginkgo, and a ginkgo it shall remain.” – Joy Morton


Mycelium installation Daniel Popper

Mycelia explores our relationship to mushrooms and mycology.

public art illinois

daniel popper ephemera

Frankly I have no idea what the concept is behind Ephemera. Daffodils sprouting from the head of a seated creature who appears to be grateful or thankful.

Hallow daniel popper IIHIH

The pieces of the exhibit intend to draw people’s attention to the metaphysical relationship between all conscious beings. The artist says that “Hallow speaks to our inner nature.”

daniel popper at Morton Arboretum

daniel popper at Morton Arboretum

Umi daniel poppper IIHIH

Umi is the archetypal mother earth, who welcomes visitors into her womb, and a reminder of our connection to nature, and our responsibility to create, nurture and care for our environment.

daniel popper at Morton Arboretum

daniel popper morton arboretum

The Heartwood is the dense inner collection of rings which lie in the center of a tree trunk. The spine or central pillar of the tree, mechanically stong, and resistant to decay . It’s rings allude to the trees unique history and identity, reminiscent of the fingerprint.

figurative sculpture

heartwood sculpture daniel popper

heartwood daniel popper

sentient daniel popper IIHIH

A “sentient” is a being sensitive in perception or feeling. Over exposure to phones, media, news blasting at us, fragmenting us, dislocating us. The daily digital dementia leads to a scrambling of our senses.Connecting with Nature and meditation are essential in finding one’s center in the chaos. The awareness that there is no separation between us and nature.

morton arboretum sculptures

daniel popper at Morton Arboretum

The word basilica is derived from a Greek term meaning royal house.Basilicas are traditionally named because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth and/or significance as centers of worship. The roots resemble arteries and veins. A nutrient system transferring energy.

wood sculpture

CHICAGO, IL, 2021 – 2023

Artist Daniel Popper
Artist Daniel Popper

Daniel Popper

all images courtesy of Daniel Popper and the Morton Arboretum