Symbolic sculpture survives Lexington fire at popular artist's home

A symbolic piece of art survived a Sunday morning fire in Lexington that left an artist's home destroyed.

Officials say the fire started just after 3:30 a.m. at a house on Menifee Avenue near Owsley Avenue in the Kenwick neighborhood.

Internationally known artist Kiptoo Tarus, was not home at the time, and wasn't injured.

"Everything has gone to ash," said Tarus, when he came home hours later to find a lifetime of work gone.

"That's not just property. It's loss of place and time," said Tarus.

Known for his chainsaw-crafted sculptures that rest all over Lexington, the Nairobi native slashed and chiseled his iconic pieces in his backyard. The fire claimed a majority of his work, but crews were able to save a few pieces.

WKYT found one of those sculptures, standing tall and unwavering in front of the charred home.

"The hands are persistence," said Tarus.

Inspired by innocent victims of political violence in Kenya, Tarus made a series of hand sculptures in recent years.

"I carved them from the experience of people dying. From that struggle of surviving," said Tarus.

Friends and neighbors are still organizing relief efforts to help him get back on his feet. WKYT will update this story with those details once the initiatives get finalized.

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