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Buddha Head Sculptures Sprout in Rogers Park

By Benjamin Woodard | March 18, 2013 2:43pm

ROGERS PARK — The neighborhood just got a little more enlightened.

Two fiberglass Buddha-head statues — each weighed down with a few hundred pounds of concrete to discourage unenlightened thieves — were plopped down by Claire Sutton and a couple of burly helpers Thursday.

Sutton, the project manager for Ten Thousand Ripples, a city-wide public art installation conceived by artist Indira Johnson, said they delivered nine more sculptures around the city on the overcast day.

In Rogers Park, they put one in Thoreau's Corner in front of Charmers Cafe and the other in Triangle Park north of Howard Street.

"They're going to stimulate a lot of good conversation and discussion about peace and serenity," said John Lamping, a long-time neighborhood resident who came out to watch the installations.

The heads "belong with us" in Rogers Park, he said.

Indira Johnson's vision is to place the statues in neighborhoods around Chicago, especially in areas known for violent crime and gangs, to spark discussions about peace.

Aarti Tejuja, who helps run the Shambhala Meditation Center, said she worked with the artist to bring them to the neighborhood.

She hopes the statues would "stop people in their tracks if they saw them."

Rogers Park will eventually have 10 heads that'll be on display for about a year, Sutton said.

As of Thursday, the sculptures, which depict Buddha "emerging" from the ground, can be found at such locations as Pratt Beach, Morse Avenue, Sol Cafe on Howard and the Heartland Cafe on Lunt Avenue.