Faces. Portraits. People.
Why have I been seeing so many large outdoor sculptures of various kinds of faces and heads in the last year or so, in many different parts of the world?
People are inherently interesting, and large faces or heads are a lot easier to execute for an outdoor exhibit than a landscape scene, for example. Faces get people to stop and look, faces can make us think, faces can reflect a culture, and I’m sure we can come up with many more ideas.
Here is another delightful example found in Stellenbosch, a town in the South African Cape, not too far from Cape Town.
It’s metal work and is entitled “Malay Girl”, by Lionel Smit. The artist is a South African, born in Pretoria in 1983 (we were living there at that time), who now lives and works in Cape Town. He has also exhibited at art fairs overseas, for example in Amsterdam, London, Miami and Hong Kong. He is best known for contemporary portraiture of everyday people in his life, working with huge canvases or sculptures.
The Cape Malay people are a big part of the Cape culture and history, so this head seems very appropriate in this setting outside the Stellenbosch Public Library.
On the plaque below the sculpture, the artist’s statement reads: “The work transforms the stereotypical idea about a painting’s environment, in other words its display in a gallery space. It also explores the creation of a sculpture from a painting. The portrayal of a Malay Girl (a recurrent theme in my works) on two sides of the sculpture translates into the concepts of identity transformation and hybrid identity”.
Very interesting concept, here in South Africa, also known as the Rainbow Nation with its many peoples.
Below are links to other head sculptures we admired in 2013, in Krakow, Chicago, and Dijon.