9-11 Art of Survival

After 9-11 and Katrina Family Tragedies Sculptor Chooses Art of Survival

Read how one sculptor’s family tragedies transformed his art.

Christopher Saucedo's World Trade Center as a Cloud, No. 4Christopher Saucedo has had more than one family’s share of tragedies. His younger brother was a firefighter who lost his life in 9-11. His family home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. They returned to New York only to have their new home deluged by Superstorm Sandy.

If you think this reads like a movie script you would not be alone. For many people it seems impossible. What are the odds?

Even harder is to think about surviving all three disasters. Not only living through them, but being able to express what you went through in art.

In order to do so, Saucedo had to modify his style, especially for his work about 9-11.

Art helped Saucedo make sense of his experience living through three of the worst events on U.S. soil in the past 15 years. Still, it took a long time for him to address his brother’s death in the fall of the twin towers.

“I’m a sculptor who primarily works with steel and wood and cast metals and big physical materials,” he says. But after being at ground zero, he didn’t want to memorialize the catastrophe with exactly the same material that comprised the World Trade Center’s remains. Instead, he hand-pressed layers of linen, making 10 blue papier-mâché rectangles. It’s recognizably a Sept. 11 blue — the blue of that day’s sky. There appear to be clouds floating on the surface, but a closer look reveals that they’re wispy renditions of the World Trade Center — two towers seemingly made of vapor, floating up and away.

Last month Saucedo installed a piece honoring the victims of Katrina. He has also created works based on his experience with Sandy.

One thing is for sure, Suacedo and his art are both survivors.

Original article by Neda Ulaby, National Public Radio, available here.

Photo of  Christopher Saucedo’s World Trade Center as a Cloud, No. 4 courtesy of Christopher Saucedo and LeMieux Gallery, New Orleans