Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Panama is a small country, mostly know for it's Canal - indeed an engineering marvel, and a tribute to the persistence of US government in making it all happen.

Yet Panama City is home to one of the most beautiful monuments depicting human nude form at its finest. The monument, created by a  Spanish sculptor Victorio Macho,  is dedicated to Belisario Porras - a journalist, lawyer, politician and three time president of Panama after it gained independence from Columbia (with US help, of course). It is obvious that Porras deserves to be commemorated in a grandiose way by his compatriots. At first it was not clear,  why he is surrender by so many nude females ( and a couple of males) - from the top, bottom and the back -  but the end result is a hymn to the grace of human form. Later I was able to find out more about the sculptor and the meanings of the allegories of the monument.

The monument is located in a dilapidated neighborhood, next to, strangely,  Spain's Embassy and the Governors office. I was not very comfortable with stepping out of the taxi to take the photos, and my wife was covering my back as some strange people started to approach us. But the results were worth the risks.

Liberty and Democracy are sharing the torch of freedom


Nine nude beauties bathed in water represent nine Panama Provinces. We could have fifty of them at  Lincoln's Memorial in Washington DC ...

People offering Belisario Porras  fruit , birds and a Crown, celebration the triumph of freedom.

Following up on the author of the monument, Victorio Macho (1887-1966), I found that he was a distinguished Spanish sculptor, who went into exile during the Spanish Civil war, and at some point ended up in Latin America, thus making this monument happen. Most of his work is housed in Toledo, Spain, to which he has returned after his exile, in Casa Museo Victorio Macho. More about the monument, it's significance and allegories in this article

Several more photographs from Boca del Torres in Panama:

A funny bench in Boca del Torro
Restaurant signs

Click the photos for full screen


Friday, May 4, 2012

San Francisco - Treasure Island

Treasure Island is home to one of the most amazing sculptures I've ever seen - The Bliss Dance. 40-foot high steel nude is the creation of Marco Cochrane. It made it's first appearance at the Burning Man in 2010, and became one of most talked about installations. The sculpture weights 7,000 pounds, is composed of 55,000 welds and is 97% air. The model and the inspiration for the sculpture was Deja Solis, a singer and band member. Unlike most of the sculptors, Mark Cochrane lets his models to be themselves, and tries to capture their beauty and expression as they chose their poses.

Bliss Dance is installed on Treasury Island temporary till November 2012. With the San Francisco skyline as its backdrop, and an endless number of unique angles from which to enjoy it, the sculpture is an ultimate technological and artistic marvel, and deserves to be one of the main attractions of San Francisco Bay Area. (Note: As of February 2018, this sculpture is moved to Las Vegas, and is located in The Park)

It becomes even more amazing at night - when thousands of iPhone controlled LED lights illuminate it from within in a dynamic combination of colors, or external colored lights make use of the mesh which the the sculpture is covered in.


As of May 2012, Marco Cochrane and his crew are working on a new sculpture - "Truth  is Beauty", which will be 55 feet tall, with the same model - Deja Solis. Unfinished torso premiered at Burning Man 2011, and became a popular climbing spot.

 On the right is the model Deja Solis in person, celebrating Marko's wedding, which took place right next to the sculpture.

That is how all the dots are connected. When finished, the sculpture will be covered with metal mesh skin the same way as Bliss Dance.

I was given an opportunity to visit the sculptor's studio on Treasury Island, and help out with welding  "Truth is Beauty

It's a three step process, from a real size model, to 2.5 times bigger model, to 2.5 times bigger final statue.

I think I'm helping to put together her left arm, which is bigger then me...


Treasury Island is also home to several more sculptures of interest -  leftovers from  1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. The Exposition was a "tour de force" of art and architecture, but most of it was destroyed as the island was taken over by US Navy in support of the World War II efforts.

Treasure Island Development Authority

This statue adorns former Naval Reserve Readiness Center, currently "Island Creative"