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Jaume Plensa's Millennium Park Statue Prepares to Head Out

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Millennium Park's big white head sculpture is on its way out after a year-and-half stint of silently guarding the park's western entrance at Michigan Avenue and Madison. Work to dismantle the 15-piece marble, resin, and fiberglass statue starts today, with the 39-foot-tall oblong noggin slated to be packed-up and fully removed by the end of the week. The largest and most prominent example of four head-shaped works installed in the park, the unique sculpture evoked feelings ranging from serenity to indifference to creepiness among visitors. While emotions may have been mixed, the visual interest the piece added to the corner will certainly be missed by many.

Officially titled "Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda," the giant head — plus its smaller siblings — were crafted by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and installed in June of 2014 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the park's opening. No stranger to public art in Chicago, Plensa also designed Millennium Park's Crown Fountain — famous for its shifting, water-spitting LED faces — as well as a permanent sculpture at the North Shore's Ravinia Music Festival. He created "Awilda" from a three-dimensional scan of a nine-year-old girl's head and vertically refracted the image to generate its surrealistic, flame-like form. While "Awilda" travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Spain before arriving at Millennium Park, it is unclear where the big alabaster cranium will go next as Chicago says farewell to Plensa's dream-like creation.

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