19 Jul Monumental sculpture inspired by Cuban exodus unveiled at Hermitage
A monumental bronze sculpture by the Miami-based artist Enrique Martínez Celaya is due to be unveiled in the courtyard of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg on 10 July (until 31 November). The Tower of Snow, 2012, which depicts a boy on crutches carrying a house on his back, is the latest large-scale sculpture to be installed in the Russian museum’s courtyard following, among others, Louise Bourgeois’s Maman in 2001 and three reclining figures by Henry Moore in 2011.
According to Martínez Celaya, who left his native Cuba as a child, the work is about his own experience of exile, but also about Operation Peter Pan, when more than 14,000 Cuban children were sent to the US between 1960 and 1962 by parents who feared the Cuban government would take away their right to decide how their children should be educated. “It’s about the anguish of those children,” Martínez Celaya says. “I wanted to memorialise that event.” A smaller version of The Tower of Snow is due to be installed at the Freedom Tower in Miami on 19 October.
Martínez Celaya’s first ever video work, The Master (edition of five, priced at $45,000 each), 2011, was bought by the Hermitage during Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2011. The work, in which the artist acts out Beethoven’s death, is due to go on show at the museum this autumn.