Sep 132012

After catching a gorgeous sunset on the Potomac at National Harbor, Maryland, I took a walk to the marina admiring the yachts and the lights of the nearby Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed what appeared to be a large hand. Slightly startled, I turned to face it directly.

What Did I See in National Harbor?

The Awakening, National Harbor

The Awakening, National Harbor

The Awakening (1980), a sculpture created by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. depicts a giant bearded man breaking through the sandy beach. In 2008, the sculpture was installed at National Harbor, just a few miles south of Washington D.C.

The feeling I got was a sense of the man’s desperation to escape the confines of the earth, limb by limb. Seeing the sculpture at night in such a small area seemed to intensify that sense of urgency.

The Awakening, National Harbor

The Awakening, National Harbor

Of course, some might just see it as an amusing piece of work. What do you think?

  24 Responses to “An Awakening in National Harbor, Maryland”

  1. This is a very unique and unusual sculpture! I think it would be slightly eerie though seeing this face and hands coming out of the ground.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Erfurt’s Krämerbrücke

  2. I think I’d be started if I unexpectedly came upon that in the dark.
    Margaret recently posted..Travel photography: still life with bicycle

  3. Now this is one cool sculpture – especially so at night. I think I’d go with the trying to escape the confines of the earth theory. The artist had quite a vision.
    Leigh recently posted..Driving Alberta’s Cowboy Highway

  4. I like your interpretation, Cathy.
    I’ve also never seen it at night – I bet it has an eerie look.
    insideJourneys recently posted..St. Andrew Parish Courthouse Jamaica

  5. I want one in a neighborhood near me !

  6. How cool! It’s wonderful how the sculpture is able to convey so much with just 5 parts and left it open to so many interpretations. I like your interpretation, Cathy! I think seeing it at night adds that eerie feeling. We will need to look for this when we make it back east.
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..Jewel in the Rough: Mission San Juan Capistrano

  7. Interesting sculpture! I like your interpretation. I find the position of the chairs interesting as well….suggests that you can come and watch him escape!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..Wildflowers of the West

  8. That is one seriously funky sculpture. To me it symbolises people trying to break free from whatever holds them back.
    Laurence recently posted..A recommended itinerary for a day in Barcelona

  9. Very interesting. The expression on his face does look desperate, not like he’s doing a fun game of bury me in the sand. I think the chairs are interesting so close to the sculpture. Then, the sitters become part of the art, too.
    Michele @ Malaysian Meanders recently posted..Pangkor Laut: An Island Spa Paradise

  10. How creepy – and very cool! I would be so freaked out if I walked into the sculpture one night without knowing it’s there. Now that I know it’s there I want to pass by though :)
    Sabrina recently posted..Brittany Holidays: Delicious Food in Lesconil

  11. I guess you could look at it two ways- he’s escaping the confines of the earth or becoming trapped. Very interesting and yes, a wee bit creepy to come across unexpectedly at night. :)
    Tonya @ The Traveling Praters recently posted..My Next Trip will be to……

  12. That is a very cool sculpture – but I think I’d be totally freaked out if I stumbled upon it in the dark and I’m pretty sure that it would lead to a nightmare of being trapped in the sand and unable to escape!
    Lisa @ Gone With The Family recently posted..The Chicago Tribune Tower

  13. That’s an interesting art expression… and a little creepy!
    Angela recently posted..Moments of bliss in Beira Mar, my beach: a photo essay

  14. I don’t think it is amusing – I see the desperation and fatigue at his attempts to escape. I like it.

    Thanks for sharing it with us and thanks for linking up this week!
    Becca@R We There Yet Mom? recently posted..Friday Daydreamin’: Happy Birthday!

  15. Very unusual sculpture. I’m torn between being a bit freaked out at this Gulliver – and wanting to help free the man from his confines.
    Sophie recently posted..A Window on Bodmin Moor

  16. Definitely different! I cannot imagine sitting in one of those lawn chairs trying to enjoy the view.
    Nancie recently posted..Waterways and Sandy Beaches to Wake-up Your Travel Bug

  17. Dang! I was just in Washington DC, and didn’t see this. . .. didn’t even know it was there. Will definitely put it on my future’s list.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..TPThursday Capturing The Four Seasons

  18. I really like it! Good shots
    Andrea recently posted..Beautiful Food At Olo, Helsinki

  19. I love great sculptures like this, and I can definitely appreciate the “escaping the confines” bit. :)
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..From Cranes to Caves: Unique Accommodations to Live Like an Eccentric

  20. Such an interesting sculpture, I would have to agree it looks like he is desperate for freedom. Creepy thing to come across at night!
    adela @ FourJandals recently posted..Top 5 Tips for Visiting Oktoberfest – And Surviving.

  21. Yea, kinda creepy. It’s unique though.
    Christy recently posted..Enter to Win a 3 Night Stay at Aruba Marriott!

  22. That is AWESOME. I love stuff like that and wish I could see it in person. You can tell by the chairs that it’s bigger even than it looks in these photos!
    Abby recently posted..Coming Soon to Vegas: Zarkana

  23. Creepy? Yes. Creepily awesome! I think it would scare the crap out of me at night though.
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..Cliff Diving (and Fear-facing) in Wadi Shab, Oman

  24. […] piece of his public art that I also came about by surprise in National Harbor, Maryland called The Awakening which evokes a much different reaction than this more ordinary scene in the […]

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge