Wednesday, 17 April 2013
We recently visited Puerto Rico. My personal highlight was at the 'Museo las Americas' in San Juan. They had an exhibit, a permanent one, titled 'El indio en America:'
It included a series of statues of native Americans, Indians, mostly from South and Central America. The statues were so lifelike! Then on exiting there was a television display of how they were made--and the philosophy of the artist.
It ends up that the statues are made from life--the models, the natives, are coated with plaster of paris from head to toe. The moulds were then taken back to the studio where the statues were created. The
Wonderful... but so little is left of our knowledge of Felipe Lettersten. I thought I should spend a little time to tribute him. So sorry there is no more...
Birthdate: June 16, 1957
Death: Died November 11, 2003 in Lima, Peru
Cause of death: Liver Failiur
Felipe Letterston, a Swedish-Peruvian artist who dedicated his life to the knowledge and protection of the "Hijos de Nuestra Tierra" or "Sons of our Land".
He was a total artist, but mainly through sculpture he tried to capture in bronze the physical characteristics of the indigenous people of the Americas. Most of them in danger of extinction.
Born in Lima, Peru from Swedish parents... He studied at Markham College in Lima and later in Europe. He was a multi talented artist, besides sculpture he painted and played the piano and the saxophone. He also had a great affinity with plants and animals.
His sculptured have been exhibited in Spain, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, Sweden, USA, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, and All of South America
The most interesting thing about Lettersten’s sculptures are that they are made from ‘life’. Technique:
He would have to convince the person to trust him, this was the most difficult part.
Then he would make a frame or structure with steel rods and wire and then completely cover the model with plaster of paris (fast dry). Once dry he would split open the mould and let the model free. After that, in his workshop in Lima, he would pour plaster in the mould and get a plaster statue which he retouched and added the details. Another mould was made and this was casted in bronze or polyurethane fiber.
He reproduced many aboriginal Indian individuals with their native clothes, ornaments and tools and in typical everyday attitudes.
Sioux, Navajo, Apache, Algonquian, Cheyenne, Hopi were some of the North American tribes he portrayed.
Quechua and Aymara from the Andes
Bora, Campa, Machiguenga, Ezeja, Iquitos, Jibaro, Conibos, Shipibos, Cashinaua...from Peru
Camayura, Tumbe, Yanomami, Parakanas, Araras...from Brasil
Caribe, Llanero,...from Venezuela,
among many other tribes that were visited and their members posed for Felipe.
Felipe would return to the tribes he visited with a replica of the statue made in fiber glass as he promised the natives so it could be displayed in the middle of their village.
Other links: http://tulliopeschiers.tripod.com/felipelettersten/
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- As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.