Foraminifera Sculpture Park, China
Bilal Haq, a marine geologist at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, was visiting a lab in Qingdao, China, where fellow scientist Zheng Shouyi had completed a set of detailed, palm-size models of foraminifera—microscopic marine organisms with ornate shells. “When I saw those,” says Haq, “I said, ‘My God, those would make excellent sculptures.’”
Being a “woman of action,” as Haq describes her, Zheng persuaded the Institute of Oceanology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the city government of Zhongshan (Zheng’s ancestral home) to establish a sculpture park devoted to foraminifera, or forams. Local artisans and stoneworkers created the sculptures under Zheng’s supervision. The 2.5-acre park, featuring 114 granite, marble and sandstone sculptures of foraminifera, opened to the public in December 2009. Since then, nearly a million visitors have strolled the hillside grounds, across the bay from Hong Kong.