Waterloo Park Hosts an Eclipse-Themed Sculpture

“A portal through time, backwards and forwards”

Serpent of the Sun and the Moon by Guadalupe Maravilla (Photo by Jana Birchum)

A new sculpture was unveiled this week in Waterloo Park to commemorate the total solar eclipse and Fusebox Festival’s 20th anniversary.

Serpent of the Sun and the Moon, the bronze sculpture by Brooklyn-based Guadalupe Maravilla, represents a serpent holding two gongs, one for the sun and one for the moon. The piece is part of Maravilla’s series called “Disease Throwers,” sculptures that include a gong or ceremonial element that can produce a sound bath meant to cleanse and restore listeners.

Maravilla’s artistic practice encompasses both sculpture and performances that Fusebox Co-Artistic Director Ron Berry characterizes as public rituals. For the 2017 Fusebox Festival, Maravilla presented BOOM! BOOM! WHAMMM! SWOOSH! in the central atrium of a state parking garage. A chorus of throat singers, the revving engines of a women’s motorcycle club, and an audience invited to scream out its political frustration together created a cathartic roar that reverberated from the garage to the nearby Texas state Capitol.

Sound – whether from a gong or cathartic screaming – is a consistent element in the artist’s work. Originally from El Salvador, Maravilla fled the country’s civil war in 1984 as an unaccompanied 8-year-old migrant to the United States, where he eventually became a citizen. In the 2010s, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and received chemotherapy as well as Indigenous healing practices, including sound baths, to assuage the side effects. He now offers periodic sound baths at venues in New York for undocumented people and cancer survivors.

Maravilla describes his work as reflecting the trauma of illness and migration as well as healing and rebirth. His sculptures fuse Mesoamerican symbols and mythology with contemporary political and human-rights issues.

“There’s a quality to Lupe’s sculptural work that, to me, feels both ancient and of the future,” Berry says. “His work speaks the language of 'eclipse’ – it is this portal through time, backwards and forwards.”

Commissioned by Fusebox and Waterloo Greenway and installed in the park’s Lebermann Plaza (near the intersection of Trinity and 12th), Serpent of the Sun and the Moon was activated in a sound bath ritual on Tuesday, April 2, and will remain at the park for several months. A second Maravilla “Disease Throwers” sculpture, Mariposa Relámpago, will be unveiled tonight (April 4) and remain through November at the Contemporary’s Laguna Gloria campus. Maravilla will activate Mariposa Relámpago in sound baths for the public (Friday 7pm and Sunday 3pm) and for the cancer community (Sunday, 10am).

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