Obama’s giant portrait on Spanish beach ready

4th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Cuban-American artist and his helpers battled days of rain to finish sculpting the portrait ahead of the US presidential elections on Tuesday.

4 November 2008

BARCELONA - Barack Obama is getting a really big head.

Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez Gerada and an army of helpers sculpted it from sand on a Barcelona beach in northeastern Spain.

The team battled days of rain to finish just ahead of Tuesday's election. It is 140 metres long by 80 metres wide - big enough, Rodriguez Gerada hopes - to be photographed on Google Earth. The face was created using 500 tons of sand, gravel and white, brown and black pebbles at a cost of more than USD 13,000 (EUR 10,240).

The team largely funded the project themselves, and the city agreed to let them use a stretch of beachfront at no cost.

Rodriguez Gerada said he did not intend to endorse Obama. "The piece is not really based on giving support to Barack Obama," he said. "It is more about questioning Obama-mania."

Still, Rodriguez Gerada said he chose the large format as an allusion to the global importance of the American vote, and to represent the hope Obama has inspired in his supporters.

"For people around the world, the symbolic power of an Obama presidency would be without precedent in modern history," he said on his website.

His Obama portrait isn't the only outsized sand creation this election season. In India, an artist created a sand sculpture of both Obama and rival John McCain, with a US flag and a likeness of the Capitol.

But the Barcelona Obama is far bigger.

Alex Jimenez, the architect for the project, said days of bad weather made some sections run into each other and destroyed chalk outlines of Obama's face.

"The rain made it look like Sarah Palin for a while," Jimenez said. "It was very scary."

He said 50 volunteers helped create Obama's image.

"I hope it is good luck for Obama," said the Spaniard. "Because I am really a great fan."

[AP / Expatica]

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