Internationally known sculptor Peter Lundberg stood on top of a mound of reddish-brown dirt in the sweltering sun at Montague Park on Tuesday as he and his crew carved earth for one of the tallest sculptures in his collection.
Lundberg is fashioning a 65-foot-tall sculpture to honor the five servicemen who were victims of the July 16 attack by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez.
"There's not anything my sculpture can say that can replace [the families'] loss," he said. "But this is a tribute to them."
The sculpture honors U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith and Marines Thomas Sullivan, Carson Holmquist, Squire "Skip" Wells and David Wyatt. Four of the servicemen were fatally shot at the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway on July 16, and Smith was mortally wounded.
Lundberg has been creating the sculpture at Montague Park since he arrived in Chattanooga on Friday. The Vermont resident said he expected to complete the steel casting for the project Tuesday, and the finished sculpture will be lifted from the ground at 9 a.m. on Sept. 1. The public is invited to view the process. The park can be accessed from Polk Street on Chattanooga's Southside.
The sculpture, the 18th in the sculpture park at Montague, will look like a ribbon or a hand reaching for the sky, Lundberg said.
He is asking service members to name the sculpture and hopes they'll consider "Five Anchors Strong," because each branch of the military has an anchor in its symbol. Service representatives who visited the sculpture park this week told Lundberg they would get back to him about the suggested name.
The sculpture park's founder, internationally known sculptor John Henry, invited Lundberg to Chattanooga for the project and assisted with the installation.
Lundberg said he's donating his time and most of his crew, including a master of fine arts student from Memphis College of Art.
"We're committed because it's going to be a beautiful sculpture park for Chattanooga," Lundberg said. "It was just a wasteland for a long time. We're helping to turn it into something that people can enjoy again."
Henry said he wants the park to be a place where people think about art without being told what to think.
He said many times people are shown an image and then told what to think about it. Contemporary art invites people to make their own interpretations based on their own experiences, Henry said.
"If the park expands people's visual vocabulary, we've done our job," he said.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at email@example.com or 423-757-6431.