Posted by pancho from ? (18.104.22.168) on Saturday, March 23, 2002 at 9:57PM :
I modeled Hammurabi's face after that of Che. I first learned of him the year he was killed...'68 I believe. I was in Palo Alto in a bookstore waiting to see a film with my college prof and his wife. Saw a book with that famous photo on it...didn't know a thing about the man...just that I was looking at the most beautiful face of any man or woman I have ever seen.
Got everything written about him and read till I was sore. The first portrait I ever made was of his face as a mask...cast it in silver and inscribed on the back his line, taken from Don Quixote...when the Don goes on his last adventure..."once more Rocinante"...that being the name of his tired old and faithful horse.
I don't make idols out of people. I could see Che's limitations...who doesn't have several...but I sensed the romantic dreamer too and who has that or had it any more so than he did?
My first life-size portrait was also of Che...a horrendous tribute of love and how far I had to go as a sculptor.
I thought it would be fitting to honor the man in this country...a sort of thumb in the eye to the country that more than any other has murdered more people in South America, by proxy of course, than anyone else or than anyone can imagine. "School Of The Americas" anyone?
I had to modify the face of course...didn't want someone saying..."that's a COMMUNIST!!!"
It's an interesting mix...Babylonian King and Cuban revolutionary...oh well.
I've lost so many pieces...clay dries and cracks...gets too wet and falls off the armature...or in this case, and for the first time ever...destroyed by my own hands. But nothing is ever lost. I spent five years on thirty portraits of Shakespeare's characters just to toss them all out in the end. But it's all in the hands...in the head and eye. Nothing is lost, nothing.
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