A spiral of small, suspended flying fish begins just overhead and swirls to the top of the atrium in the newly opened Jasmine hospice facility on West Bay Road.
The opalescent cluster of fins and wings, titled ‘The Glide’, is almost dreamlike in the way in which it pulls the viewer’s gaze into the light from the windows 30 feet overhead. The effect is only fitting.
Local artist Tansy Maki said the image of the installation piece came to her in a dream a decade ago. Since then, it, along with a lot of other ideas, had been circling inside her mind, waiting for the right moment.
“I never knew when I’d get to create this, but I always knew I would,” Maki said, standing in the lighted space beneath the completed hanging sculpture. “When I met with the architect and saw the space and knew it was a hospice, I knew it was meant to be here.”
She said she hopes the piece will bring a quieting influence to the entrance of the facility.
“I wanted to create a piece that was uplifting and calming that instilled those feelings in the viewer,” Maki said. “I’m hoping it will have a soothing effect.”
Jasmine’s director of operations and nursing, Felicia McLean, said she thinks Maki has hit the mark.
“It makes people pause and reflect,” McLean said. “It adds warmth and comfort and a kind of like serenity. It just fits perfectly for us.”
The new facility, which has four rooms for hospice patients, a large common area, administrative offices and outside garden space, was dedicated by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a visit by her and Prince Charles last week.
Those who entered the building during the ceremony were almost immediately confronted by Maki’s overhead piece. The 130 individual flying fishes were each sculpted by hand out of a polymer material.
“Not one of these is exactly the same,” she said.
It took 50 hours to hang the sculpture, which winds around a hanging light fixture with glass globes. The lights are meant to look like bubbles, Maki said.
“The flying fish is such a beautiful, ethereal creature,” she said. “Every time I go deep-sea fishing, I’ve always admired their beauty.”
Maki, who is well known for her murals around the island, said she would like to do more three-dimensional pieces like the Jasmine installation.
“I’ve been creating a lot more sculptural works over the last several years,” she said. “I really want to focus on installation and more textile-oriented works.”
But the goal remains the same.
“If you can instil a feeling or an emotion with one of your pieces,” she said, “that’s the purpose of what I do.”