Odonata: About


Dragonflies inspire all who behold them to explore the world in six directions! Navigate the streets to find camaraderie, cultural enrichment and stimulation. Attune your senses to the ever-changing colors, sounds and moods of nature.

Odonata DesignXavier Cortada, “Odonata,” ceramic, 2013

A public art project at Joe Moretti Apartments (Miami-Dade Housing Authority), Miami, FL

Artist’s Statement

For millennia, people who lived at the mouth of the river hunted and gathered in this area. It was near Mary Brickell’s home. It was the place where our first pioneers settled.  It was a middle class neighborhood.  And now it’s a dense, bustling community with buildings rising to the sky.

There’s a long history here, including a vibrant natural history. However, in an urban setting, with bright lights and limited native canopy, pollinators, including dragonflies, are struggling for survival.

Through my art I wanted to portray and honor these special insects.

In Odonata – the dragonfly mural –I indulged in extensive carving of the ceramic relief —  creating its richly textured surface. That process evoked a host of memories: seeing dragonflies encircle my head as I visited Parrot Jungle on field trips, hearing the music my partner composes about them.  I remain mesmerized whenever they come into and out of my backyard.

It’s just beautiful how this one species has inspired me to pause and reflect throughout my lifetime. I hope this artwork invites the viewer to do the same.

To create the art, I took videos of dragonflies out in the Everglades which I then translated first into digital images and then onto a slab of clay which I carved and glazed.

Besides generating conversation about habitat preservation, I see dragonflies as models of what the elderly who live here can do. They don’t have to be trapped in these buildings, they can literally walk outside and go in any direction, like the six directions a dragonfly can move.  They can even dance with the butterflies.