For motorists, Pope bobbleheads
TUBA, Benguet—How would you like the company of Pope Francis as you drive, that is, his bobblehead image nodding at you from the dashboard?
The idea of the Pope providing a calming effect on the road came to sculptor Peter Pinder as he carved an image of Francis in 2013, before the Pope announced his visit to the Philippines in January.
Pinder’s final products feature the familiar image of Francis waving to the crowd set in cold bronze, in fiber glass and in plastic—all covered by copyright he acquired in October.
The image has movable parts, its right hand waving and its head bobbing up and down.
Touched by the humility and sincerity of the Pope, Pinder said he intended to express those qualities of Francis in his sculptures.
Admirer of Francis
He said he was not religious but he admired the Pope.
“I really like the fellow, his face, his smile. He looks like your grandfather who is down-to-earth,” Pinder said.
“He connects with people. [Francis] really makes sense. He and the Dalai Lama, they say wise things. Francis could bring peace to the world. He has no problem going to Turkey to talk with Islamic leaders,” he said.
Pinder described Francis as an “emotional Pope.” He said he did research for information about Francis to be able to capture the Pontiff’s movements, gestures and expressions.
The resulting 17.8-centimeter sculpture and mold is a detailed image of Francis from head to waist.
Pinder spent hours replicating the angle of the Pope’s waving hand, his glistening eyes, his chin, aquiline nose and the spots on the left side of his face.
“When the image nods, its head nods to the [right side]. He is an emotional Pope, so I would like to relate that emotion to the movement,” Pinder said.
Pinder is producing a limited edition of the cold bronze version of Francis’ image and 50 of the fiber glass version.
The artist said he was looking for manufacturers to mass produce the plastic version.
“The plastic image can be affordable to any jeepney or taxi driver. I hope to see drivers along Roxas Boulevard or Baguio with the image of Pope nodding at them,” Pinder said.
Inspired by the bobblehead cat that decorates many public utility vehicles, Pinder thought to himself, “What if I make [Francis] do that? Stick [his image in front of the car] and he blesses your trip.”
Pinder said he would have wanted to make a sculpture of the Pope that he would have titled, “Pope Francis in Motion with Emotion.”
He said a friend recently visited the Vatican and met the Pope. “I didn’t believe him at first but when I saw his picture shaking hands with the Pope and laughing with him, I thought I was just one person away from him. I could have given him one of my sculptures. My friend gave him a shawl from Baguio,” Pinder said.
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