Posts Tagged ‘Statues’
Pope John Paul II visited Panama in 1983. It was a wonderful experience having the pope in our country. It was the first time in the history of the country a pope had visited the Isthmus. It was by far the largest concentration of people in a religious event.
Below are a couple of pictures depicting the exact spot where the pope prayed for thousands and thousands of Panamanian Roman Catholics. The statue commemorating the papal visit is located in Albrook. Take a look at this historic site.
During my recent foray into the campus of the University of Panama, I saw several objects that were deliberately placed there in an effort to display works of art. After looking at some of these objects for some time, I just couldn’t appreciate the art in them. To my plain and uneducated eye, they were just a mix of junk waiting for the garbage truck to arrive. I know this statement is not fair to the creators of these artworks. As you know beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
You be the judge in the following examples art which I found lying around the University of Panama campus. Here we go.
I know that appreciating art is very personal and subjective. Tried as I did, I couldn’t find the artistic value of this old tire mixed with several pieces of rusty metallic objects. Maybe in this particular case, art is only an illusion of the mind. Good Day.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwrite. His literary masterpiece, Don Quixote, often considered the first modern novel, is a classic of Western literature and is regularly regarded among the best novels ever written–at least in the Spanish language.
Cervantes work is considered among the most important in all of literature. His influence on the Spanish language has been so pervasive, that Spanish is often called “la lengua de Cervantes” (the language of Cervantes). He has also been dubbed “El Príncipe de los Ingenios”—The Prince of Wits.
Don Quixote is noble-minded knight, an enthusiastic admirer of everything good and great, yet having all these fine qualities, he is also accidentally blended with a relative kind of madness. He is paired with a character of opposite qualities, Sancho Panza—his squire—, a man of low self-esteem, who is a compound of grossness and simplicity. Idealism and pragmatism contrast continually in this literary masterpiece.
The character of Don Quixote became so well-known in its time that the word quixotic was quickly calqued into many languages. Characters such as Sancho Panza and Don Quixote’s horse, Rocinante, are emblems of Western literary culture.
I’ve read El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha twice. First, when I was in tenth grade in high school, and second when I was in my first year at the Universidad de Costa Rica. I understood the novel better on my second reading of course. The old Spanish language is sometimes difficult to comprehend. Many of the words and expressions used by Cervantes are no longer used in modern-day Spanish. El Quixote is a mandatory reading in Panama.
Below are several photographs of an amazing sculpture of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza at the entrance of the administration building of the Universidad de Panamá. It’s a snow white sculpture which adds cachet to the house of Octavio Méndez Pereira, cofounder of the University of Panama and its first Rector.
Here we go. Enjoy.
In every corner of this phenomenal learning site, I found little gems sparking under the sun. This is one of them. Good Day.
When I was studying at IPA (Instituto Pan-Americano) during 1962-1965, the major TV stations in Panama would broadcast the Sunday mass from the Church of Cristo Redentor on top of one of the many hills of San Miguelito. I remember that nearby, there was an imposing metal statue of Jesus with his arms extended as if to embrace the world. I would say, it closely resembles the gigantic statue of el Cristo Redentor del Corcovado of Río de Janeiro in Brazil.
After several years, the TV broadcasts were made from other modern locations of Panama City, and the iconic statue lost its charm and faded into oblivion. No body spoke, or even remembered, that this structure existed in San Miguelito, specially the young generations of Panamanians.
On Sunday, December 13, 2009, my wife and I decided to find the whereabouts of this forgotten statue of San Miguelito. I could hardly remember where it was located, so I had to depend on my wife’s memory. She was right on the dot, and in less than 15 minutes, we were parking our car in front of the Iglesia de Cristo Redentor in San Miguelito. Once there, we asked a person there, where we could find the statue. He looked worried, and said, “If I were you, I would not go there. It’s not a safe place. Many persons have been mugged in this insecure place, and others have been killed.” “Please stay away from this place, it is considered una ‘zona roja’” (red zone, meaning a extremely dangerous place).
We followed his advice. While we approached the area from a respectable distance, a spokesman of the church whose name is Absalom, approached us and said he would accompany us to the safest place to view the statue. At approximately 200 feet away from a hill, infested with weeds, we saw the figure of Jesus Christ with his arms extended. Only he was looking in the opposite direction. I could only see his back.
Absalom explained that the area had been taken by local gangs and drug dealers. Even the wide walls of the church were painted with graffiti, representing the territorial claims of the gangs. Nobody dared to climb the hill to enjoy the view or visit the statue. Jesus was there, alone, ostracized by crime and drugs. We felt very sad of this situation. Absalom noticed our sorrow and gave us a small sermon about the absence of God in modern societies.
He said, the origin of violence, drugs, hatred, wars, gangs, and other social evils; originated by the vacuum of spiritual beliefs by the people. They have been hypnotized by the glare of consumerism. Greed was the energy propelling societies around the world. Family values have been forgotten. Father and mother have been displaced by grandfathers and grandmothers, and by local gangs. This was the new family of the XXIst century. The nuclear family of the Industrial Revolution has been crushed by new institutions created by capitalism with a barbarian face. In Spanish it’s called, “capitalismo salvaje.”
After listening to Absalom’s words of widsom for about half an hour, we prayed together holding hands. Then we departed homewards. Before leaving, I aventured taking a couple of photographs of the distant statue using my camera’s zoom feature. That was the best I could do, considering the aforementioned unfavorable circumstances. Here we go.
When we got home, we prayed together for our country, for our families and for our marriage. We were certain that without God in our lives, we were headed for chaos. Now that the Christmas Season is coming, we need God in the middle of the festivities. Christmas is not about Christmas trees, presents, lights, toy soldiers, spirits, parties, or Santa Claus. Christmas is about the birth of baby Jesus Christ in a humble manger who came to teach us the value of Love. Good Day.
One of the main characteristics of Chinese culture is the decoration of its buildings with statues of guardian lions for security and protection. It’s a millenary tradition.
Chinese guardian lions, also called Fu Lions, Lions of Buddha, or sometimes Stone Lions in Chinese art, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China, which is believed to have powerful mythic protective powers.
They have traditionally stood in front of Chinese imperial palaces, temples, emperors’ tombs, government offices, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy from the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), until the end of the Chinese empire in 1911.
Fu Lions or Statutes of Chi, are always created in pairs, with the male playing with a ball and the female with a cub. They are commonly found in many types of Chinese pottery and in Western imitations.
Chinese stone lions are still popular decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance. They are commonly found in China and in other places around the world where the Chinese people have immigrated and settled, especially in local Chinatowns.
During my recent visit to the Bridge of the Americas I saw a pair of these protective lions at the entrance of the observation post located on the western bank of the bridge.
I shot a couple of pictures to share them with the readers of Lingua Franca. This is what I saw that Sunday morning. Here we go.
During your next visit to Panama, I encourage you to take a tour to the Bridge of the Americas at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. It’s worth more than a thousand visits to your local library. Good Day.
Situated along Balboa Avenue, is the Vasco Núñez de Balboa’s statue, a historical monument paying tribute to the Spanish adventurer and first European to glimpse the Pacific Ocean in 1513. Holding the Spanish flag in his left hand and a sword with his right, the Vasco Núñez de Balboa bronze statue overlooks Panama Bay. The statute is held by a sculpture of four nude men which represent the four human races.
The statue was sculpted by Miguel Blau and Mariano Benlliure and later donated by King Alfonso XIII of Spain to the Republic of Panama. With representatives of some 15 Latin American countries present, President Belisario Porras inaugurated the monument on September 29, 1924.
The park is popular with locals and foreigners alike. From the park you can shoot nice photos of Punta Paitilla’s high-rise buildings to the left, and Casco Viejo to the right.
Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475-1519) was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific Ocean from the New World.
Balboa started his journey across the Isthmus of Panama on September 1, 1513, together with 190 Spaniards, a few native guides, and a pack of dogs. After traveling more than 110 kilometers (68 miles), he arrived at the Pacific Ocean on September 29, the feast day of the archangel Michael. He named the new sea Mar del Sur, since they had traveled south to reach it. Ferdinand Magellan later renamed the body of water the Pacific Ocean because of its calm waters.
In 1518, Pedro Arias de Ávila or Pedrarias the Cruel charged Balboa with treason, arrested him and had him beheaded.
Below are several pictures of the historic monument of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa for your enjoyment. Here we go.
I am ancient land of legend.
In my veins run golden rivers.
Gods and heroes tell my story.
I am Panama.
I hope you have enjoyed these pictures of one of the most emblematic historic structures in Panama. Good Day.
Every time I go and visit el Casco Viejo, I find that things are changing for the better. As you probably know, I was there last week in an effort to take some photographs for Lingua Franca, and also to find out what’s happening in that old part of the city.
I saw that the whole area is being renovated by both the public and private sector. The restored buildings look exactly as they were when they were first built. This is something that made me feel good. Our Casco Viejo can easily compete with the ones in San Juan (Puerto Rico), Havana (Cuba) or Cartagena (Colombia).
For this post, I’ve selected a metallic statue. In fact, there were two of them probably created by the same artist. I almost stumbled into the statutes. They were right there in the middle of the aisle in front of Las Bóvedas in la Plaza de Francia (France’s Square). They were perched on several cement blocks. One was a metallic seamstress and the other was a street peddler pushing a metallic cart. They instantly reminded me of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.
After I returned home, I sent a whole bunch of Casco Viejo photographs to my friend, Michael Moore for his evaluation and advice. He helps me by highlighting my mistakes in an effort to make me a better photographer. I appreciate his support and guidance. He also improves the photographs to levels I would never imagined could be reached. From a simple street “point-and-shoot” photograph, Michael transforms them into exquisite photographic pieces.
For today, I’ll include several photos of the surrealistic metallic seamstress. Tomorrow I will include pictures of the metallic peddler and his cart. Enjoy the artistic creations of Michael Moore, author of the Web site dubbed, Biographies of the Heart Photography.
This is what I mean by transforming normal photos into something else.
When I purchased my digital camera in December, I had no idea photography was so exciting. I thought it was just pressing the shutter and voilà a wonderful picture would magically emerge. It requires a whole lot more than that. I’m so glad I got into this hobby. It’s like good wine, it gets better and better as time tics by. Good Day.