I had a good trip down to Alexandria yesterday, a fast down and back jaunt with a pleasant, as always, visit with my friends there. It’s always great to spend a little time with the folks there– Michele, Clint, Julia and Chris. Oh, and my dog, Asher, who wants to play fetch from the minute you enter the gallery to the minute you leave. He pretends to be Clint’s dog but I know that he’s really mine. But since Clint wouldn’t part with him for the world and takes great care of him, I guess that’s okay. Thanks for making me feel at home there, guys.
I was going to write about the trip a bit more but I was looking at a photo blog that I read on a semi-regular basis, Sartenada’s Photo Blog. He is a retired pilot and amateur photographer who travels around his native Finland and Europe snapping photos of some interesting subjects. I particularly like his photos of the rustic wooden churches in Finland, such as the one shown here on the left, that are so beautifully designed.
A recent post featured a group of folk art sculpture that he had noticed outside several of these churches, near life-size figures of what seemed to be people in great hardship, some missing limbs. They often have a hand out as though asking for help. It turns out that these are Poor Man Statues which are really just large and elaborate poor boxes. There are slots in the sculptures to insert money that will be passed on to the needy of the church and the community.
I was really taken by these statues which reminded me so much of some of the great folk art sculpture of the past here in the States.Some are really expressive such as this one on the left. His face has deep creases in his weathered face and, as Sartenada implies, may be based on an actual member of the church or community. I think these are just wonderful and wanted to pass them on. I’m pleased to see these surviving and hope that they will be preserved.