Resurgence

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Medenica unveiling "Resurgence" in 1976

"Resurgence" was the first large commission for sculptor Branko Medenica. The sculpture commemorated the change to an "Arts in Education" curriculum at Lakeview Elementary School in 1976. The 15-foot-tall work was given a prominent place in front of the school, facing Clairmont Avenue.

Medenica, a recent graduate of the master of fine arts program at the University of Mississippi, was unemployed when he was told about the commission from Birmingham City Schools. He spent eight months creating the massive sculpture, shaped out of steel reinforcing bars and mesh, which was then covered with dry-mix shotcrete and hand finished.

The sculpture was conceived to represent the "resurgence" of the school with its new focus on arts. The base was made to look like a brick-paved terrace through which the abstract form was emerging into the air. Viewers likened the shape of the finished work to a towering flame.

Incorporated into the sculpture was a time capsule, filled with items brought by pupils, to be "discovered" by future generations of students. The school closed, however, and was sold to a private company in 1981. The sculpture was demolished by bulldozer and the wreckage used to help full the former pedestrian tunnel between the school and Underwood Park. The time capsule was not recovered.

References

  • Rocker, Maggie & Sammie Auer (February 19, 2016) "Time capsule mystery from 1976 cracked in AL.com Vintage photos." The Birmingham News