Iowa’s soil is one of the most fertile in the world. For many years its native prairies breathed in carbon from the atmosphere and sequestered it underground in its deep root systems. Today, that fertility feeds the world since over 85% of Iowa's land is dedicated to farming. BIOquilt celebrates the rich ecological history that has allowed this state to become a leader in biorenewable resources.
By representing the Iowa topography, this piece acknowledges how the land we stand on has given us immeasurable resources throughout the centuries. It also serves as a reminder of the various layers of rich culture and history linked to the Indigenous Nations that originally owned the land. This piece intends to represent our complex relationship to our landscape, rich in fertile soil, history, and a future for the Biorenewables Lab. BIOquilt addresses the holistic narrative of the landscape - biologically, geologically, socially, and historically. This piece speaks to how the land represents the past, present, and future through the lens of current research conducted at the Iowa State University Biorenewables Research Lab.
“Without history, we would not learn; without the land, we would not exist; without the soil, we would not innovate.” Much like the layers of fabric are kept in place by stitching lines in a quilt, BIOquilt comes together to weave the stories of the Iowa landscape and the innovation of the Iowa State University Biorenewables Research Lab.
About the Artist: Reinaldo D. Correa-Diaz
Reinaldo D. Correa-Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from Puerto Rico with a background in architecture, industrial design and art. His understanding of public art and teaching experience, combined with his sensitivity to historical environments, enable him to create work that encompasses a variety of concepts, including placemaking, storytelling and the artistic representation of cities.
Holding a Bachelor's in Architecture and a Master's in Industrial Design from Iowa State University, Reinaldo has worked on interdisciplinary projects across architecture, design and art with a portfolio that spans high-rise buildings, hospitals, recreation centers, rest areas, schools and international public art in the United States and Canada.
As an artist, Reinaldo's practice focuses on site-specific artwork in sculpture, master planning, murals and installations, drawing on academic research, making and interdisciplinary collaborations. The essence of his work is centered on community outreach, placemaking principles, and co-creation, using an artistic methodology called "Artistic Discovery", which strongly emphasizes "people and place". This creative process comprises 6 steps: Artistic-Fact Finding, Defining, Placemaking, Outreach, Making and Impacting.
Reinaldo incorporates digital fabrication and design-build methodologies into his practice, allowing him to bring innovative, hands-on experiences to students and communities. Utilizing digital fabrication, robotics and computation, Reinaldo explores new sculptural techniques that merge art and site. He also emphasizes experiential learning, encouraging participants to explore, understand and engage with their environment in new and meaningful ways.
Reinaldo's goal is to create pieces that go beyond mere visuals and stimulate the human senses, showcasing the heritage of a site through themes like conservation, ecosystem, landscape care and educational legacy. Currently, he teaches at multiple departments at the Iowa State University College of Design and continues to develop nationwide projects through his private art practice, Reinaldo Correa Studio.