Magnificent Monarch.

I returned to the North Carolina arboretum recently to enjoy the Nature Connects, Art with LEGO bricks exhibit by Sean Kenney. He was the first of what has grown to become 15 LEGO Certified Professionals. I can assure you I am not in that select group, but I do feel he is a kindred spirit in calling himself a “professional kid”.
Although I have never been a master of LEGO art, I admire those who can create amazing sculptures from these fundamental building blocks. When interviewed about this exhibit of 14 sculptures last month, he said his favorite piece is the Monarch Feeding on Milkweed, his most visually intricate piece ever. He spent over 160 hours just designing the delicate details of the milkweed flower, noting that LEGO doesn’t make many large pink pieces so he ended up buying more pink bricks than ever before. Because most were very tiny, and he needed multiple shades of pink, the finished artwork has 60,549 LEGO pieces.
Given the garden’s focus this year on pollinators, this sculpture is a larger than life reminder of the beauty of these butterflies and their host milkweed plants. Already they are starting to migrate through this area, and I like to think they are peering down admiring this tribute to their elegance and grace. I am glad they are not this large in real life, though perhaps if they were we would notice them more and take better care of them. To ignore them would be at our peril if their wings could knock us over! Still, even at their diminutive size I find them impossible to ignore, and hope the profound beauty of this sculpture contributes to efforts to save them and their habitats so they continue to delight with their fluttering flight.