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The McNay Expands Outdoor Sculpture Collection with Monumental Work by New Orleans Artist Anastasia Pelias

Quite likely to have gone unnoticed amid the festive chaos of your holiday season, the McNay Art Museum recently welcomed a new addition to its already-striking outdoor sculpture collection, which features works by the likes of Kiki Smith, Philip Grausman, Alexander Liberman and Tony Smith — not to mention the Instagram-ready fan favorite LOVE by Robert Indiana. 

Commissioned by the McNay from New Orleans-based multimedia artist Anastasia Pelias, the site-specific concrete sculpture mama aims to offer “a place for people to be, to think and to meditate.” In a video shot during the installation process, Pelias explained that she was given free range to select a location for mama and settled on a small hill just inside the museum’s main gates since it “looked like it needed some love.” In addition to giving this nook of the grounds some love from mama, Pelias also painted the surrounding landscape (twigs, moss and all) a “velvety violet” color in response to both the sculpture and the site. 

Described as “an homage to Pelias’ family history,” the cradle-like monument references her Greek ancestry and specifically an ancient Minoan shape with both male and female properties. 

“I’ve been obsessed with this shape since I was a young teenager,” Pelias explained. “I just started drawing it before I knew what it was. Then I went to Crete and saw the shape … and it turns out that the Minoans, who were all about this shape, settled [on the Greek] island where my mom’s from. So this shape’s in my DNA basically.”


Written by Bryan Rindfuss