Drone's eye view of Cécile Trentini's "Red-Zone Earth," created at Lee Street Beach on Earth Day. (Photo by Patrick Hughes Jr.)

An outdoor art installation titled “Red-Zone Earth” by Evanston artist Cécile Trentini decorated Lee Street beach on April 22 in honor of Earth Day. The piece, 24 feet in diameter, resembled a globe with deep grooves cutting through it. Non-toxic red sand ran through the grooves, bringing vibrancy to the work but also serving as a warning. 

“The Earth really is in the red zone right now,” said Ms. Trentini. “And we absolutely need to do something about it to save it.”

Drone photo of Cécile Trentini’s “Red-Zone Earth” by Patrick Hughes Jr.

The installation, which Ms. Trentini referred to as a sand labyrinth or sand tattoo, was created as part of the Art for the Earth program organized by Evanston Made, an Evanston nonprofit working to publicize and bring together local artists. “Art for the Earth” asked local artists to create outdoor art exhibits during the month of April. 

Work on Red-Zone Earth begins at dawn on Earth Day. (Photo from Cécile Trentini)

Ms. Trentini began working on “Red-Zone Earth” at sunrise, around 6:15 a.m., on April 22; she finished three-and-a-half hours later. She and her husband, who helped with the project, began by tracing the shape into the sand and digging with shovels until the grooves were deep enough to walk through. 

The sand, which is pure Aragonite and ethically sourced from the Bahamas, was poured in at the end, completing the artwork. 

“It’s a mixture of Andy Goldsworthy and a little bit of Christo and Jeanne-Claude,” said Ms. Trentini. Although artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude typically used plastic in their art installations, they also created large-scale outdoor art pieces using materials from nature, similar to Andy Goldsworthy’s works. 

By 4 p.m. that day, “Red-Zone Earth” was already destroyed. “I knew it would be ephemeral – that was part of the original concept – but I had hoped that it would last a little longer and slowly disappear through the influence of wind and rain,” said Ms. Trentini.

By 4 p.m. the sand tattoo was gone (Photo by Cécile Trentini)

Ms. Trentini, who splits her time between Evanston and Zurich, Switzerland, is mainly a textile artist, though she also enjoys other art forms, such as photography and sketching. More of her art can be found on her website, at www.ceciletrentini.ch

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...