Outdoor Sculpture Installation: Irene


Jamie Burmeister
Steel; approximately 14’ H.

Marshallese Community Outdoor Sculpture Project

Visitors to the museum are sure to notice a new outdoor sculpture on the grounds this fall. Omaha, Nebraska artist Jamie Burmeister created Irene along with a team of local artists and project assistants.

DuMA commissioned the sculpture to bring awareness to the significant population of refugees from the U.S. Marshall Islands living in Dubuque. The nearly 14 foot high sculptural portrait depicts Irene, a Marshallese community member who came with her family to Dubuque in 2010.

Through her work with Crescent Community Health Center in Dubuque, Irene advocates for improved access to health care for the Marshallese community, which suffers from chronic health effects as a result of atomic weapons testing conducted around the islands.

The sculpture was constructed using digital 3D scanning and modeling techniques, along with traditional steel fabrication. Ron and Jennifer Tigges of Digital Dubuque captured Irene’s image through a series of high-resolution photographs and scans.

Irene is part of a series of works that the artist has created and dedicated to people who, despite their humanity in the face of extraordinary challenges, might not ordinarily be the subject of an artwork. ““Monuments” seeks to tell the stories of ordinary people through large-scale sculptural portraits,” says Burmeister. “If given the chance, everyone has an interesting story to tell.”

Donations to the project will support the Dubuque Pacific Islander Health Project (DPIHP), formerly known as the Marshall Islands Health Project. Donate here.

Made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Project assistants: Rachel Spurling, Emma Wood, Allison Steger, Erik Steffenson

Special thanks to:  Digital Dubuque, JaMar Pattern, Inc., Key City Creative Center