August 2, 2011. (Romereports.com)
This image of John Paul II is just a small part of a monumental sculpture. It was designed by Anna Gulak. A young painter and sculptor from Poland who broke ground in her early 20's. When she was only 22, she became the first Polish artist to collaborate with the Vatican.
“Around 2002 when Cardinal Dziwisz, personal secretary of John Paul II saw my first works on sculpture, he proposed to me 'why don't you make a medal for John Paul II and we will see.' I've never worked on a medal before. There are a lot of well know, recognized artists who dream about making a medal for John Paul II. I didn't want to do a normal flat medal. I wanted it to be more like a sculpture , so I just kind of did this other form that was like a broken form and I wanted to show John Paul II in it, in a gesture of blessing.”
A special edition of the medal was released. In fact, John Paul II gave them away as gifts during his 25th anniversary as pope. Those who worked with him in his international trips were among the recipients. The medals made their way through Poland, Chicago and Canada. Now, they can be see in the Vatican's Museums and also in several Polish museums.
She didn't know it at the time, but these medals would later inspire her in an even bigger project. A project, she would work on for seven years.
“Around 2003 after making a medal for John Paul II I was kind of inspired.
I've decided to sculpture him as the Peter of our times in a figurative way but also in an abstract way, in a symbolic way. He is emerging from a block of rock.”
The end result is this project of roughly 2100 square feet. She studied hundreds of pictures, to get the one posture and expression that best represented John Paul II in movement
“This monument is a sculpture to be somewhere outside. I see it in a big city, or where there are a lot of people passing by because the water, the project with the stairs around it has a symbol of a place where people can meet. “John Paul II, John Paul the Great for me, he was an idol for everybody with a great contact with young people, he was a good example.”
For now, the monument is still looking for a home so to speak. Without a doubt her collection is quite extensive. It includes these drawings, each about 10 feet long, of the now blessed John Paul II. She's now in the process of making new drawings of John Paul II, which will be part of an art exhibit in September in the eternal city of Rome.