Be sure not to trip over Indira Johnson's half-submerged Buddha heads when you're in Uptown. Credit: Jerome Ludwig

It makes sense that artist Indira Johnson chose Uptown as one of the neighborhoods for her project Ten Thousand Ripples. The neighborhood, home to the historic Aragon Ballroom and Green Mill, boasts public art like bricolage and murals that relay messages of embracing diversity and fostering communication.

Furthering that message are five fiberglass-and-resin sculptures of half-submerged Buddha heads, designed by Johnson, that were installed in Uptown earlier this month.

In communities that seem to be constantly plagued by violence, the Buddha heads symbolize the need to find peace and stimulate conversation. “The image of the Buddha growing out of the earth represents for me the spiritual growth that we all struggle to achieve as we travel life’s path,” Johnson says on the project’s website.

Besides Uptown, the Buddha heads dot the streets of Albany Park, Pilsen, South Chicago, and Rogers Park for a grand total of 28 sculptures. Come spring, TTR will move to five new neighborhoods and will culminate in an exhibition at the Loyola University Museum of Art.