By Jim Clark


Dedication of Kiptoo Tarus Sculpture: Magi Mazuri (Good Waters)

January 20, 2019, 4:15 PM at the Henry Clay Estate


LEXINGTON, KY – To most, an ancient tree stump is just that, not very useful unless for playful climbing or back in the day, used by a politician for a stump speech.  But, in the hands of Lexington-based artist Kiptoo Tarus, such a stump was alive with possibility.  Thanks to a grant from the LFUCG Corridors Commission and matching funds from the Foundation, Tarus was able to transform a stump near the corner of Richmond and Sycamore Roads on the Henry Clay Estate into a thoroughbred taking a sip of water. Councilman Bill Farmer, Chair of the Commission says, “Kiptoo uses the canvas nature leaves behind to derive the beauty from within. This high profile project will become a landmark entrance to the Henry Clay Estate. The Corridors Commission was pleased to play a role in this great work.”  The public is invited for the dedication at the sculpture and a Q & A with the artist on Sunday, January 20 at 4:15 PM.


After a felled limb brought Tarus to Ashland as a volunteer to help cart it away, he happened to meet Executive Director Jim Clark and mentioned his interest in carving the stump. Tarus is known for large scale wood sculptures, often carved with a chainsaw, and some of his most visible work has depicted uplifted hands.  The Kenyan-born artist named the sculpture Magi Mazuri, which means “Good Waters” in Swahili.  “This artwork will become a welcome anchor for our new Arboretum Grounds Tour,” says Clark.  A thoroughbred sipping water evokes the history of Henry Clay as entrepreneurial farmer. Clay was the first to form a Thoroughbred Syndication in America and his innovation and influence led to Kentucky’s current global standing in the equine industry.  A new sign on Clay’s Spring Lane marks the original spring on his property, where thoroughbreds enjoyed the “good waters.” Such history will be incorporated in a new walking tour that will also include tree identification and the connection between art and nature.


Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate is located at 120 Sycamore Road in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The Henry Clay Memorial Foundation was established in 1926 as a private, nonprofit organization.  It exists to promote the legacy of Henry Clay, to share his continued relevance locally and nationally as a great statesman and to preserve his beloved “Ashland” as a testament to his love of Kentucky and country.

The Henry Clay Memorial Foundation exists to promote the legacy of Henry Clay to share his continued relevance locally and nationally as a great statesman and to preserve his beloved “Ashland” as a testament to his life and his love of Kentucky and the country.