A poem by Sheila Ash and read by Wendy Anne Darling.
The inspiration – in 2005 I spent 3 months in Central America travelling through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. There were many highlights but an unexpected delight was the city of Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Mexico’s second largest city has in its centre some magnificent works of public art. Two of which remain lodged in my memory to this day.
Situated in the Plaza Tapatia and dominating the cityscape is a massive impressionist sculpture entitled the “Immolation of Quetzalcoatl” after the Aztec chief. A huge bronze figure of a flame reaching 25 metres in height surrounded by four smaller flames, it is a work of great dynamism constructed in 1981 by Victor Contreras.
Located on the opposite side of the Plaza are a collection of largerthan life size bronze sculptures by local artist Alejandro Colunga. One represents a magician in the process of transforming his body into a chair. Others are tall skinny human-like chairs; still others are short and squat. These sculptures have an amazing effect on people as they enter the square. To watch the visitors’ faces change is an incredible experience. Unlike works in galleries, these sculptures can be totally experienced, touched in a way that makes you feel that you are participating in the art work. People sit on the wizard, they slump and lounge over the chairs, take pictures, smile and laugh. Adults are transformed into playful children as they adopt poses on the chairs. These works are among my favorite sculptures and I am smiling again as I remember and am inspired to write these few words introducing my poem.
The audio transcript
The magician spreads his cape to work his magic
transmuting metal into gold
the alchemy of old
made manifest in a sculptor’s hands.
they stand tall
in public view
to sit upon
to feast upon
the works of a man
and marvel at the works of men
of times past, present and yet to come
where one and all may come
to recreate the magic of old
of souls departed
of worlds long gone
a mystic river linking all to one for all time
rising as smiles on the faces of one
as they each rise and fall
from chair to chair
transformed faces young and old
what fun we have one and all
behold the alchemy!
© Sheila Ash, poet 2015