Hung from the north atrium of the Mall of America (MOA), nearly 25 yards across, and composed of 13,000 strands of yarn in 103 colors—and weighing in at 721 pounds—the latest work by internationally acclaimed Minneapolis yarn artist HOTTEA is his largest to date. HOTTEA, whose site-specific yarn pieces aim to work harmoniously within existing infrastructure, installs worldwide. Most recently he’s created colorful pieces in London, Berlin, New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, São Paulo, Taiwan, and Sydney.

The name of the new installation, Hot Lunch, was inspired by one of the artist’s assistants, Lin, who also works as a school lunch aide. Lin’s tireless work ethic reminded HOTTEA, aka Eric Rieger, of his own school days, and of those who make a difference in others’ lives. “This piece is about the people who, their whole lives, are kind, genuine, just good people,” the artist told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s just me thanking them for being who they are, for them just saying a few words to someone who may be feeling like they don’t fit in, or going through something in their life.”

Forecast Public Art worked with MOA and HOTTEA to facilitate the planning and installation of the temporary piece as part of the mall’s 25th anniversary celebration. It was on view from August to October 2017.

Jen Dolen is a photographer and is on the editorial team for Public Art Review.

From Public Art Review #57 where this article originally appeared in Projects We Love as “Hot Lunch.”