Driving on Tramway Boulevard, some may have noticed metal sculptures on the northeast corners of both Academy and Spain roads and may have wondered what they are or what they represent.
The sculptures both face the city and are somewhat of a mystery, as there are no placards with info at their sites, and there is little information about them online. However, the Desert Hills Homeowners Association references them on its site as the neighborhood’s emblem. Other forms are depicted on Desert Hills Neighborhood signs.
The art pieces were privately commissioned by artist Ali Baudoin of Albuquerque, who has commissioned public art pieces in New Mexico as well as in cities in the state of Washington and municipalities from coast to coast.
Influenced by eastern art principles and engineering, sheered metal pieces into his sculptures — called monocoques — give a fluid sense of movement and change the light that is reflected on the sculptures’ surfaces, transforming its figure throughout the day.
Both sculptures are pillars to the entrances of the Desert Hills Neighborhood, and depict Grama grass (Blue Grama Grass is the state grass of New Mexico since 1973, according to statesymbolusa.org).
Known for its uses in feeding livestock, with its signature curling leaf blades, this grass grows in all 33 counties of the state and tends to thrive from 3,000-8,000-foot elevations, according to nmsu.edu.
It’s also said that Native Americans in the region once ground the seeds from the Grama grass for flour.
At higher elevations, Blue Grama dominance indicates a deteriorated range, but on a short-grass range, it indicates good conditions.
Both Grama grass sculptures can be seen from the 8.6-mile trail of the east side of Tramway Blvd.