Monday, November 16, 2009

More Friendship from Chile

Earlier today I stopped by the Sausalito's Civic Center to say hello to Mike Langford, the head of our Parks & Recreation Department who is taking the lead to look into the revitalization of our sister city relationship with Viña del Mar in Chile. As I was leaving his office, Mike asked me if I had seen the Hermandad statue in Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito that had been donated several years ago by Sergio Castillo Mandiola, a Chilean sculptor. I had to admit that I had not, but after leaving the meeting I drove down to take a look.

In 1968 Sr. Castillo was a visiting professor at UC Berkeley. Learning of the sister city relationship between Sausalito and Viña del Mar, he kindly offered to create a steel sculpture as a gift to Sausalito to reflect the goodwill between the cities. He gave the sculpture the title of "Hermandad" -- "sisterhood.”

At the time of the sculpture’s dedication in 1969, the sculpture was located in an open area in Sausalito near the Bay and the city’s Viña del Mar Plaza.

Soon thereafter, small trees were planted around the sculpture to provide some landscaping. However, as the trees grew to full size over the years, they gradually crowded in on Hermandad and largely obscured the work from public view.

In 1989 the Loma Prieta earthquake toppled Hermandad from its base. An initial effort was made to reattach and strenghten it, but elements of the sculpture were lost as a result and the integrity of the original work was compromised.

Finally, in September 2008, on the 40th anniversary of its original dedication, as a result of several years of efforts led by the Sausalito Arts Commission and with the support and guidance of Sr. Castillo and the work of local artist, Archie Held, the restored Hermandad was erected on a elevated pedestal at the entrance to Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito. It sits there today, just next to the ferry terminal where it once again welcomes visitors to the city.

I am sure Sr. Castillo would approve.

No comments: