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Inspiration for exhibit came from a desire to be in a fish tank

Sea Schroom and Yah Monatee exhibit at the South Dakota Art Museum
"Sea Schroom" and "Yah Monatee" are part of Steve Bormes' exhibit at the South Dakota Art Museum.

“Have you ever seen a cartoon of somebody’s giant head looking into a fish tank?” asked Steve Bormes, an artist from Sioux Falls. “I’ve always felt like I wanted to be inside of that tank and, with this room, that’s what we’re trying to do. The imaginarium is like putting yourself in there with all these creatures.”

Bormes had this inspiration while creating the Deep Sea Imaginarium exhibit, now on view at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings. The exhibit showcases more than 50 internally illuminated sculptures made from various objects Bormes found in antique shops, farm yards and even in Turkey.

Bormes is originally from Aberdeen and has been an artist for the past 15 years. He collects objects that fascinate him and stores them in his studio until he comes up with ideas on how to use them for his creations.

Each art piece in the exhibit has a short poem written by Bormes as part of its label. The label for the piece Bormes calls “Sea Schroom” reads, “A fungi that is like no other, his sense of humor comes from mother. Stop to see him if you dare, his jokes will make you gasp for air.”

The time spent in creating the art varied because of objects used, size and the detail required for their creation. Some would only take 90 hours, while others took more than one year to finish. He’s been planning for the exhibit for the last three years.

“I think I took seven lights from our house to do this show and now it’s dark in there,” Bormes said. “The exhibit is awesome at night. The rest of the art collections go to sleep and mine just comes to life and we have the whole place to ourselves.”

The exhibit is open now until April 7 at the South Dakota Art Museum.

About the South Dakota Art Museum
The South Dakota Art Museum is located at 1036 Medary Avenue in Brookings. Admission is free. Parking is also free, located just west of the museum on Harvey Dunn St. The museum is open daily in December and Monday through Saturday in January through March, and closed Dec. 24-26, Jan. 1, Jan. 15 and Feb. 19. Additional information about this exhibit and the museum is available at