First Epiphany of the work of art MARIA, 1995
Years of working with malleable matter; the movement of the hands holding and shaping in the silence instilled by closing the eyes; the tangible discovery of what is yet unknown and that brings you to knowledge.
On a spring day in 1995 Sister Teresa Cañamàs, Headmistress of “La Purísima” School for Deaf Children in Palma de Majorca, asked me to sculpt an image of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, for her community. To help me better understand what she expected, she showed me a statue in chalk of the Immaculate Mary in the corridor of their Convent cloister: large, dressed in blue, with a sweet face, a crown of stars, and the moon at her feet. That image confused me. I was about to leave for Mexico and carried her request inside me, which had become a kind of “seed”. In Mexico, I was still confused, since all the images of Mary there, so distant, reminded me of the Immaculate one in the corridor of the convent. However, my confusion and popular devotion became “the water” that made the seed inside me germinate. On a fine morning, while visiting a market in Cholula-Puebla I found some wax. Wax is the material with which I usually work and, despite the fact that this Mexican wax was a little crude, it reminded me of marble and I felt attracted by it.
Back in Spain, to overcome my confusion I had decided not to think about Mary anymore, but I felt like trying that wax: the desire to shape it and the feeling of obligation had combined inside me. I did not require anything else to begin work and so, in the silence instilled by closing my eyes, I discovered within the void between my hands something I hadn’t known before. A tangible reality was slowly taking shape and gaining all its significance while being held in the hands. I recognized among my memories of Mary the images that I had seen in Mexico. I recalled my visions during a visit to Nazareth: Mary’s well, towards which it seemed I had seen Her walking; Her house in that great Church dedicated to Her. I had no aware intention to shape the statue to make it multifaceted. It came from my memories, by itself. I became aware that, by touching the statue with the eyes, once open, so looking at it from different points of view, it becomes a multifaceted Icon revealing moments of Mary’s life as well as moments of every person’s life.
I began to retouch the sculpture with anxiety to perfect it, opening and closing my eyes, a little distracted by my craft as a sculptor. I started looking at this shape which had become an Icon from different angles, seeing moments of her and everybody’s life that I had recognized from my memories.
In July of that year, an article “The hands contain the Virgin” by writer and priest Miquel Ambròs Albertí was published in ‘Brisas’ magazine in Palma de Majorca, recounting the story of the birth of this image and my qualms concerning it. When showing him I had asked: “but… can one hold the Madonna in one’s hand?” He answered me by citing the first epistle of St. John: We herald that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, contemplated and have touched with our own hands: The Word of Life.