Missing art installation: where are Francis Kere’s colorful Sarbale Ke’s towers?

Over one year after a promise to install one of the most striking art installations from the 2019 Coachella Music and Arts Festival in a local park, Sarbalé Ke or the House of Celebration sculpture series is still not in place.

Where is House of Celebration from Coachella?

The City of Indio inked a deal to display ten of artist Francis Kéré’s twelve colourful towers for the next decade, beginning in December 2019, following Indio City Council’s approval of the project.

Sarbale Ke not at Dr Carreon Park?

The sculptures were set to be installed in Dr Carreon Park (82200 Dr. Carreon Boulevard) and should have just marked their first anniversary as a tourist attraction and anchor artwork for the city. Instead, the park is left with wide open patches of dirt adjacent to a children’s playground.

Sarbale Ke art installation… coming soon

When will Sarbale Ke or House of Celebration be installed?

Today the towering wood and steel sculptures are still being stored at an undisclosed location.

“The installation of Sarbalé Ke was originally pushed back to accommodate the Spring 2020 music festivals,” according to Brooke Beare, Director of Communications & Marketing at the City of Indio. “It was then postponed due to COVID. We are hopeful to resume planning for the installation of the sculptures as soon as possible.”

The sculptures were at hit at Coachella 2019 thanks to their colorful exterior and hollow, tapered shape inspired by the baobab tree, which develops wide openings in the trunk where people can gather and find shade. In West Africa, the tree is not just a notable community landmark but it’s also revered for its medicinal and nutritional uses.

The sculptures remained here in the valley after Coachella 2019 concluded and awaited permanent installation. A September 2019 report by Indio city staff estimated the installation costs to be $308,000 and yearly maintenance costs of approximately $27,000. The art, in its 10-tower form was valued at $400,000.

All photos courtesy Francis Kere Architecture

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Palm Springs Traveller Staff