As the Christmas holidays continue I am trying to use my time to do things left on the long finger. Organising my hard drives and trying to play with my son. My head is addled, I need some kind of system to organise all my files and make safe backups of my work. This journey will continue for ages but for now, back to the past and another nativity sculpture. You can see that we had broken away from the traditional crib and started to have some fun.
The first breakfast
Originally posted Dec 12, 2018
We all know that Jesus had a last supper but I'm sure you never heard of his first breakfast. It was a much more select group of people. His mother and stepfather were there, of course, but so were some shepherds, a couple of kings, a washerwoman, a guy taking a poop, an angel and some animals. All it was really missing was a partridge in a pear tree.
source Wikimedia commons
For the 2003 La Pineda, Catalonia sand sculpture nativity we decided to break away completely from the idea of a manger and instead base the sculpture on Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting. Why? because, why not. I mentioned before that there were so many other traditional cribs around the Mediterranean made from sand. So, we wanted to be different and give our audience a bit of a challenge and maybe a bit of a smile.
In the Catalan nativity, there are several other characters which they have added over the years that we in Ireland do not have. A woman washing clothes, which I still don't know the reason for and the Caganer, a guy literally taking a poo. He represents the fertilising of the ground and was added during the Baroque period. As they say, if it's not Baroque, don't fix it. So, he is at the far end of the table. The toilet he is sitting on is hidden in my photos but his grimacing face tells the tale.
On each side of the sculpture, there were some angels. This one made by Ludo Roders from Holland. I love her style.
And this one by Anique Kuizenga who is also from Holland.
Most of the rest of us worked on the different characters at the table. It was quite fun to try and play with Leonardo's composition and make the different figures interact in a similar way. I think most of the audience loved the idea but there were some that thought that playing with the idea of the traditional crib wasn't, well, traditional and in ways blasphemous. In the media some complained that we were using public money to enjoy ourselves, others stood up for us and the town hall Major, who was paying for the whole thing loved the attention the whole thing was getting. Much more than if it was a vanilla crib.
As Oscar Wilde said 'There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.'
I was also responsible for the star and a little Bethlehem landscape at the back of the sculpture which I decorated with plants that were able to grow in the clayey sand. I liked the whole sculpture and the fact we had created a controversy.
Provoking an emotion, good or bad is what art is all about.