Capital Art Gallery with a Focus on “The Beauty of Washington

40 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Union Station Street Level, West Hall #152, Washington, D.C. 20002-4285, (202) 289-9882-Gallery, (703) 995-0841-FAX, E-Mail: , Web Site:
  • Last Revised: May 12, 2008 11:33 am

"The Awakening" is a 100-foot statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. It was created by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. and installed at Hains Point (East Potomac Park), Washington, D.C. in 1980 for the International Sculpture Conference Exhibition. It proved so popular, however, that 27 years after the event it still remains, even though the National Park Service admits that the "temporary permit" has long since expired.
The statue consists of five separate pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a panicked giant trying to pull himself to the surface. The left hand and right foot barely protrude, while the bent left leg and knee jut into the air. The 17-foot right arm and hand climb above the observer while the bearded face, with the mouth in mid-scream, struggles to emerge from the surrounding earth. The statue is located on the southern end of Hains Point just across the Potomac River from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. At times, the Potomac River floods the statue, adding to the eeriness as the giant tries to escape the drowning waters.In 2007, it was announced that it would be moved to the National Harbor in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside the District of Columbia, however, the artist, Johnson, has veto authority over the statue's final location.[1] The sculpture sold for $750,000. The sculpture is prominently mentioned in the book A Murder of Promise by Robert Andrews (ISBN 0-399-14832-9) and it also appears in one of the very early scenes in the 1995 film //The Net//.

All photographs are copyrighted. No reuse allowed without written permission from Xiong (Tom) Tan.

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