Photo Courtesy of  Ben Easter
Art Type
Media / Materials
Year Completed
Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation organized and funded the October 14 and 16, 2018 presentation, with in-kind support from CLE Productions, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Inc., and The World Food Prize Foundation for access to the east facade of Hall of Laureates.
Latitude & Longitude
41.587679, -93.618699
Location Description
The east façade, Hall of Laureates, 100 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA

Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights

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Projection Mapping Premiere of


by Oyoram


On east facade of

The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

100 Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa USA


2018, October 14th 8pm

October 16th 9pm

Admission is free

Organized by Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation


detail of “Mental Banquet”. The artist said, “I am drawing visual poetry using light rays on its façade that, similar to a human face, has a lot to reveal. “


To see and experience this dramatic public art project captures the essence of the transformational experience. Embodying artistic traditions of teamwork to unparalleled extents, Oyoram’s Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights (2018) celebrates both the triumph of technology and the splendor of our natural world. The artist has honed his aesthetic from nature’s formal beauty and exuberant ornamentation, as well as architectural space. His art expresses the acts of going, growing, changing, and the processing of time.


detail: Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights, 2018, Architectural mapping


View looking west, “Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights,” 2018, Architectural mapping

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is deeply grateful to Oyoram for all of his efforts and collaborations in creating this project. The artist developed the music score in collaboration with Rhakeem Alpoe (aka Shaquille Phillips), Jack Gallup and Melvin Veach. The projection mapping performance on the facade of this Beaux-arts building in downtown Des Moines was a formidable effort.  The dimensions of Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights— approximately 72 x 164 feet (22 x 50 meters) — are the same dimensions of the east facade of the Hall of Laureates.

About 17,000 years ago, a few highly skilled homo sapiens artists were doing what I am trying to do today: tell a story by painting and engraving on stone walls. The art was discovered in 1940, in Lascaux cave in Dordogne, a region in southwest France. After Picasso visited the cave in the 1950’s, he reportedly emerged and exclaimed: “We have invented nothing.” Miró once said, “Painting has been in a state of decadence since the age of caves.” 

But I have been intrigued by more than the value of cave paintings. These were drawn about 14,000 years before the invention of writing!... What a long learning process to transform visual drawings into symbols - letters - words and sentences with meaning.

Observing our way of life today, at first I was worried: we are reading less and less, we are using icons, short messages and bird sounds to communicate. We no longer use our pen and even our purchases are signed with a finger. On second thought and maybe third, I changed my mind. Maybe we are not regressing, maybe we are in a process of elaborating a new language that will include literal and pictorial fragments; a universal language of the mind transcends countries and cultural borders.

Today the cave’s stone has become a building and I am drawing visual poetry using
light rays on its façade that, similar to a human face, has a lot to reveal.

September 22, 2018