Bahamian artist now honored by Elk Grove heart swing replica

  • Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts, who created a heart-shaped swing for the Atlantis Paradise Island resort last year, says he's honored Elk Grove Village is copying the spirit of his work with a similar art piece. But he also said he would like some credit for the idea.

    Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts, who created a heart-shaped swing for the Atlantis Paradise Island resort last year, says he's honored Elk Grove Village is copying the spirit of his work with a similar art piece. But he also said he would like some credit for the idea. Courtesy of Antonius Roberts

  • This interactive heart sculpture and swing was installed last summer at Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas, and was the inspiration for Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson to commission a similar piece back home.

    This interactive heart sculpture and swing was installed last summer at Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas, and was the inspiration for Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson to commission a similar piece back home. Courtesy of Antonius Roberts

 
 
Posted5/14/2020 5:33 AM

The Bahamian artist whose heart swing art piece inspired Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson now says he's honored the village is copying the spirit of his work with a heart swing of its own -- as long as he gets some credit.

In an email to Johnson and village officials, artist Antonius Roberts said he appreciates how his heart swing -- installed at the Atlantis Paradise Island resort last summer -- inspired the mayor during the village's sponsorship of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl last December.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In an earlier email to the mayor and village board, Roberts' representative, Hannah Blanton of Sozo Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote that she was "shocked/heartbroken" about Johnson's idea to install a similar decorative heart swing in Elk Grove. She also suggested Roberts be offered a copyright or licensing fee, or the opportunity to create a heart swing for the village.

While Johnson said it was never his intention to replicate Roberts' work, the mayor admitted to taking inspiration from it when commissioning Elk Grove-based Rebechini Studios to create a 12-foot-tall heart swing for installation near village hall. And in a response letter to Roberts and his agent, Johnson welcomed any suggestions for how to recognize Roberts' work, such as a plaque near the Elk Grove art piece once it's installed this summer.

That led to an email penned by Roberts himself, in which he said he'd like some type of recognition but also wished Johnson success with the art installation. The mayor read portions of the email during a village board meeting Tuesday night.

"It has always been my desire for my art to be transformative and uplifting, and to receive proper recognition for my creative efforts," Roberts wrote in the April 29 email to the mayor and village trustees, which was also sent to the Daily Herald. "I am elated that the mayor was so inspired by my heart swing that he moved to replicate the spirit of my work at Elk Grove. I view this as an honor and would be happy with due recognition whenever the final work is completed, installed and mentioned."

The Elk Grove swing could be in place as early as July.

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