Shadows of the Wanderer, 2008
Polychrome wood, onyx, acrylic, nails
Steel and wood base
260 x 390 x 605 cm
While working on her previous sculpture, Land of No Return, Pacheco recounts how an image came into her mind of a young man carrying an old man on his shoulders. She was familiar with scenes in Vergil’s Aeneid where the Trojan Prince Aeneas leads a band of refugees from the ruins of Troy, carrying his father on his back. This, together with daily media images of contemporary suffering, led to the two front figures, sculpted from one block of wood.
During an interval of years, Pacheco experimented with various ways of grouping the background figures, finally settling on the form we see now. Ten larger than life-size presences, robed in black, loom as the shadows of the work’s title. Like a Greek chorus they observe the men’s plight with a variety of emotions, watchful but seemingly incapable of intervening.
The forward movement of the piece, conveyed by the young man’s dogged advance and the old man’s gaze into the distance, creates a sense that the two protagonists are about to leave their world and enter ours, while yet another realm is suggested by the shadowy space beneath the stage.