Tucson's Public Art
Stick Lizard

Title: Illuminating Stick Lizard, by Betty, Joe & Martha Harris (2004)

Location: Tucson Museum of Art Entrance, 140 N. Main Ave.

Details: According to the sign:

Luminarius Talea

True eccentrics of the Sonoran landscape, stick lizards distance themselves from the scorching heat of the deserts sand by perching atop an upright stick for up to ten hours a day. Off-hours, the stick is carried in the lizard's mouth. Although considered cold-blooded, stick lizards are believed to be the only reptile to exhibit warm-blooded characteristics. They store sunlight through the process of resergilation, absorbing  great quantities of energy through glands in the back of their throat. At night, resergial enzymes transform this into heat-emitting bioluminescence, warming the lizards and spectacularly illuminating their head. Stick lizards also feed at night, dieting mainly on the fruits of the monster cactus.

Lumenessum Belua (Monster Cactus)
Another unusual Sonoran native, lumenessa cacti are distinguished both visibly and biologically from their Sonoran relatives. Incapable of traditional photosynthesis, lumenessa are nourished by the nocturnal light of the feeding stick lizards, with whom they are symbiotically linked. Stranger still is the unlikely appearance of lumenessa, with features resembling an animal-like face. Recent science has largely discarded local lore that the face was bred into the cacti by Aikamel O'odham farmers attempting to scare rival tribes. Their monstrous appearance is now wholly attributed to evolution.

He Said:

I love these. I hadn't planned on adding any more luminaria sculptures to the Public Art  pages, but I had to make an exception for these guys. Go check 'em out before they're gone. And, have fun!

She Said:

These are the best luminarias of all! They're comical, whimsical, and just plain fun. I'd love to have them in my yard - the lizard is great, with his gold tooth and frazzled look! The little cacti are endearingly monstrous; the whole piece is terrific!

Monster Cactus

Copyright © 2005 S. Halversen. All rights reserved.