Last week, Guadalajara musician and artist Jose Fors revealed his new sculpture during a nighttime ceremony illuminated dramatically by Kleig lights and camera flashes.
Time will tell, but it may have proved to be the ideal way for Mayor Enrique Alfaro to bow out of municipal politics while he attends to his gubernatorial bid – always end on a high note, as the showbiz saying goes.
“Arbol Adentro,” one of eight public art works commissioned by Alfaro as a part of his program of civic beautification, holds the greatest pride of place. It consists of a giant, sleeping human head with a scraggly tree sprouting from atop its cranium-less platform. The sculpture, contrived to look like aged, oxidized green bronze, stares through closed eyelids from its post in the middle of Avenida Alcalde towards the city’s towering cathedral just a block away.
Present at the ceremony were the artist, the mayor and several other dignitaries, including UdG Rector Tonatiuh Bravo Padilla.
“It’s worth defending the idea behind this sculpture, that is, that art and culture are fundamental platforms for the transformation of Tapatio society,” proclaimed the mayor. “This is a work that will become a symbol of the city.”
As befits an artist, Fors’ address was not without an injection of sly humor, utilized, perhaps, to ameliorate Alfaro’s flights of hyperbole.
“The greatest honor for me is that they entrusted me with the creation of a work that’s in the heart of Guadalajara, right next to the Cathedral of Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said Fors, referring to the 70s-era, rust-colored office building looming over the corner of Alcalde and Calle Independencia, at whose base sits a branch of the well-known fast food chain.
Despite months of criticism surrounding both the project’s steep cost and the work’s aesthetic, “Arbol Adentro” has seemed to have proved a hit for city folk, many of which are families whose children can be seen trooping up the flight of stairs attached to the back of the sculpture and peering gigglingly over the lip of the attenuated cranium at their smartphone-camera wielding parents below.
After suffering the disdain, outrage and, worst of all, indifference his public art installations have attracted, Alfaro may have finally hit one out of the park, or at least gotten a man on base.