Para Roberto, 2019

Bronze sugarcane stalks and a cast bronze chair from stickball and baseball bats and balls.

Para Roberto, 2019

Dedicated to Puerto Rican humanitarian and Hall of Fame baseball player Roberto Clemente, this sculpture pays homage to Clemente’s humble beginnings, outstanding athleticism and philanthropic spirit.

Para Roberto is dedicated to Clemente’s ‘would have been’ future and honors his remarkable life, his humanitarian legacy, his perseverance, and his dedication to working with kids to help realize their own dreams. The sculpture features an empty ‘Abuelo’ chair- the type a grandfather might use in Puerto Rico, reminiscing and telling stories filled with history and wisdom which represents Clemente in his retirement, had he lived. I’m grateful for the City’s support of this commission and thrilled to see it installed in the heart of the South Bronx where it can become a part of the neighborhood fabric and inspire future generations with Clemente’s example.”

Share photos of the monument on Instagram @ParaRobertoBX

The sculpture is cast bronze with vibrant colors give the work a surreal feeling of being in Puerto Rico. An oversized chair made from bronzed stickball and baseball bats and balls sitting underneath a 12.5 foot tall canopy of sugarcane. The chair represents Roberto in his retirement, built upon his history, perseverance, and humanitarian spirit.

12 sugar cane stalks surround the chair. Quiet sentinels, the sugarcane represent the hardships Roberto and his family faced working in the sugarcane fields, a reality shared throughout the colonial history of the Caribbean. But in this work, the sugarcane act as not only a numerical tribute to Clemente’s golden glove wins (12), but also provides shade and respite for the patron sitting in his chair, reminding the viewer that our history makes us who we are and gives us the foundation to move forward and achieve success.

Installation at Roberto Clemente Plaza in the South Bronx took place over several days in October 2019. The final unwrapping was on a bright and sunny 92 degree day, certainly feeling very much like La Isla del Encanto.

Even down to its foundation, the concrete base of @ParaRobertoBX represents a combo of Puerto Rico & New York City- recreating a mixture that resembles both a sandy beach on la Isla 🇵🇷 & an old-school aggregate sidewalk from the 70s. Complete with oyster shells and seashells, I want the monument to feel like a living history.

Shot at Polich Tallix foundry, May 2019. Video by Matthew Lapiska from NYC DDC creative services

The monument was commissioned by The City of New York Department of Design and Construction, Percent for Art, Department of Cultural Affairs, and Department of Transportation. Additional funding provided through the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Monuments & Memorials Fund, which supports the creation of new permanent artworks honoring communities that are underrepresented on City property. Fabrication done by Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, Rock Tavern, NY. Concrete by Prestige Stone and Pavers.