Flamingo Sculpture at Tampa International Airport
Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika on Wednesday, May 31, voiced her admiration for the 22-foot high sculpture of a flamingo installed at Tampa International Airport in the US.
She expressed plans to install a similar structure at Lanet Airstrip in Nakuru due to its association with the flamingoes found at Lake Naivasha, which fascinates both local and international visitors. In December 2020, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) kicked off the upgrading of Lanet Airstrip in Nakuru County. The 18-month-long project was designed to bolster the existing Lanet Airbase's ability to accommodate both commercial and cargo air transportation, thus making it a dual military-civilian facility.
The first phase of this venture involved setting up a 1.7 km by 23m wide Bitumen Runway, Taxiways, a Military Apron, a Terminal Building and a Lounge. Kihika implored Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen to embrace the sculpture design during the rehabilitation of the Lanet Airport in Nakuru.
"I love this, Kipchumba Murkomen; let's do this! Flamingoes are synonymous with Nakuru. This is cool," she stated.
An American social practice artist Matthew Mazzotta created each component of the flamingo design by hand and fashioned them out of polyester resin and fibreglass composite. He then painted it to make it look and feel realistic. A series of rubber rings are installed around the feet and head to resemble the water ripples on the ground that helps those with sight issues navigate around the sculpture.
The US government finished the installation in 2022, incurring a cost of Ksh 72 million. The sculpture offers incredible photo opportunities for tourists who appreciate the symbol of Tampa Bay.