Using 6.5 million square feet of floating pink fabric, Christo and Jeanne-Claude encircled eleven islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay, extending the perimeter of each island by 200 feet. An elaborate undertaking that involved legions of contractors, engineers, attorneys, and seamstresses, Surrounded Islands also required extensive consultation with marine biologists and ornithologists. Ultimately, the project benefited its surroundings: Christo and Jeanne-Claude's crew removed forty tons of garbage from the uninhabited islands.
Evoking hibiscus flowers and flamingos, the vibrant woven polypropylene fabric was sewn to correspond to the contours of each island. As the unfurling began on 4 May 1983, the islands themselves seemed to bloom. The artists and their crew of 430 surrounded the last island three days later. Remaining on view for two weeks, the work was visible to the public from the causeways, the land, the water, and the air.
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