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Chauvin, Louisiana

Kenny Hill Sculpture Garden

Religion and personal struggle gave birth to this collection of concrete angels. 

Part outsider art, part religious site, part personal exorcism, the Kenny Hill Sculpture Garden was built by one man who fought a losing war against his personal demons. 

Kenny Hill began building a 45-foot tall brick lighthouse on his rented land in the early 1990s. Hill, a bricklayer by trade, continued to fill his yard with life-sized concrete statues of angels representing religious lessons. The figures range from winged angels with fluorescent light bulb halos to figures being raptured or barred from Heaven. Hill often inserted himself into his works, being brought up to Heaven or carried aloft by angels, his face would also often be painted black and white to symbolize his internal struggles. 

While working on the garden, Hill shunned publicity and forbade photographs. He answered questions about the meaning of the artwork only vaguely, stating that the work was a story of salvation for the local people. In 2000, after a decade of working on the site, Hill suffered a crisis of faith which saw him abandon the religious message of the garden. He stopped paying rent, knocked off the head of the statue of Jesus and left town one foot, never to return.

The artwork has since been carefully restored and is now home to an art center and small museum run by a local university.