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Art Installation Salutes Wild Buffalo

PHOTO: Performance artist Lila Roo is in West Yellowstone today, installing a large-scale piece to highlight the plight of Yellowstone National Park bison. Photo courtesy of Lila Roo
PHOTO: Performance artist Lila Roo is in West Yellowstone today, installing a large-scale piece to highlight the plight of Yellowstone National Park bison. Photo courtesy of Lila Roo
May 15, 2013

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. - An artist known for large-scale performance installations around the world that focus on what she sees as injustices is in Montana today to draw attention to the plight of Yellowstone National Park bison.

Lila Roo will be inside an abstract buffalo, trailed by red art that signifies blood. She said the whole piece acts as a "blood blessing."

"To bless all the blood that's been shed in the past," she said, "and not only for the current hazing years, but reference to the history of this nation and the demolition of the buffalo."

The state tries to keep the bison in the park because of concerns that they could spread disease to domestic cattle.

Roo's piece will be located along U.S. Highway 191 at the Madison River bridge near West Yellowstone. Her performance will run from 3 to 5 p.m. She chose today because May 15 is the date when surveillance of bison is ramped up by the state.

"I've heard it referred to as the 'drop-dead date,' where Montana has no tolerance for the bison outside of Yellowstone Park," she said, "so it's really when the hazing heats up."

The Buffalo Field Campaign, which is promoting Roo's appearance, has worked for years to try to stop the hazing of Yellowstone bison.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT