I’m not sure when I first saw a picture of this sculpture. I can only tell you that when I did, it brought tears to my eyes. Its affect on me was immediate and deep. Can you feel it?
The sculptor is a man named Zenos Frudakis. The sculpture itself can be found in Philadelphia. I already know that I must make a pilgrimage of sorts to see it myself one day. It’s on my bucket list.
Frudakis has this to say about his motivation for this piece.
I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process.
Although for me, this feeling sprang from a particular personal situation, I was conscious that it was a universal desire with almost everyone; that need to escape from some situation – be it an internal struggle or an adversarial circumstance, and to be free from it.
(To read more, you can go here.)
I can look back over the years and pinpoint specific times of my life that were breaking free times. I can remember times when I was every bit as entombed as the image on the far left of the sculpture. I can remember certain things that I did that were the beginnings of breaking free. I can remember those times of being almost free and feeling a bit panicked – would the freedom be all that I dreamed it would be, or would I be better off stepping back into my stone prison? And oh, I can most definitely remember those joyful, life-filled first moments of freedom.
I don’t think this happens just once or twice in our lives. I think it happens over and over again as we grow and evolve into (hopefully) our better, more fulfilled selves. Sometimes I sense those claustrophobic feelings deep inside my soul of being “caught” and needing to move forward, to break free of the comfortable, the predictable, the expected, the status quo. I hope I will never be satisfied to just stay safe. When I’m tempted to do that – because it’s easier, because I’m comfortable, because doing anything else is hard, hard work involving deep-level change – I hope I will always have the inner strength and desire to push out, a little at a time, and strive to achieve a freedom that looks and feels like this.