An American Artist
October 7, 2009
dreadful day, the bullet of a henchman of tyranny pierced the young
heart of Neda Agha Sultan, and she collapsed on the pavement, gasped for
air as her crimson blood painted the black asphalt. Her music teacher
along with a young doctor tried desperately to revive her. They kept
frantically telling her not to be afraid, not to be afraid. The music
teacher was witnessing the death of his young student and all he could
do was to breathe encouragement in the vain hope of keeping her alive.
Her mouth began to spurt blood and her eyes rolled to the side. As
people crowded around her in screams and wails, she stared serenely into
the cell phone camera that captured the final moments of her life.
the young and beautiful freedom-loving Iranian music student was slain
in cold-blood by the current Islamic regime in Iran. Almost instantly,
Neda became, not only the divine call of the Iranian revolution, but she
symbolized the call for liberty around the world.
Like millions of people
around the globe who were profoundly saddened by the untimely death of a
young and innocent Iranian woman, the Master Sculptor, Paula Slater,
also deeply affected by the death of Neda on that graphic video. In
fact, waves of human soul cried out loud for the injustice in Iran.
was the moment of unity, people of all races, classes and nationalities
became one people and one voice in expressing their revulsion at the
barbarity of a murdering regime and its savage henchmen.
sooner the final shovels of dirt covered the precious body of Neda that
on the other side of the world Paula—a distinguished artist and daughter
of humanity – devoted endless hours sculpting a bust of the murdered
one commissioned this talented artist, no one even asked her to do the
magnificent work of immortalizing Neda. The sensitive artist later
reported: "My schedule was packed with Public Art commissions to
complete, but I was so saddened by the tragic events in Iran that I
needed to turn the pain I felt into art before I could precede with my
other sculpting projects.”
Slater is a full-time professional sculptor and has been awarded
many important commissioned monuments and prestigious bronze portraits
installed throughout the United States and Canada. Believing in the
old-world ideal of 'nothing rushed or left undone', she gives the time
needed to bring each exquisite detail to life. This generous giving of
time is rare in the art world today, setting her sumptuous sculptures
apart and elevating the demand for her fine art ever higher.”
started to sculpt a
life size portrait bust of
Neda, also known as "The Angel of Iran,” based on the photo that was
released the day of her murder. It was the photo with the veil. She presented the first bronze bust
at a rally, organized by a group called "United 4 Iran,” on the steps of
San Francisco City Hall.
It was Paula’s divine call. She wanted to memorialize the fallen Persian
the spark of talent and genius can produce beauty and true art of
The second portrait bust of Neda— she says, "It is the face on the
other side of the coin.” The first sculpture was a historical portrait
of Neda "Angel of Iran". It showed a strong and proud Neda whose spirit
could not be broken by an oppressive dictatorship under which she lived
and died. However, this second sculpture is of Neda "the Angel of
Freedom" with her hair uncovered, and she is radiating the hope of her
people for a free Iran.
Radio Free Europe, Paula was asked how she came up with the idea of
making a sculpture in Neda's honor:
"Well, you know, I saw the videotape of the shooting of Neda and it just
touched me so deeply. It was like a shot to the heart. And what I do
when I'm feeling a lot of pain is sculpt, and I thought I just needed to
sculpt her. I need to turn this pain that I'm feeling into art and I
just wanted to sculpt her portrait and to show my solidarity with the
people in Iran,” she replied.
was overwhelmed by so many loving e-mails she received by Iranians all
over the world in appreciations of Neda’s sculptures that she started to
sculpt another life size portrait bust of a 19-year-old fallen martyr,
Sohrab Arabi, to represent all the brave young male
heroes who have given their lives in
this revolution for freedom and human rights in
Iran. "I feel that I have become joined at the heart with the
Iranian people and I want to continue to do all that I can to help,
because I believe that the only way bad people can win is if
good people aren't willing to stand up
to them,” says Paula.
the most part, Slater’s sculptures capture and set forth a message with
the force of a sudden wind storm. And the sculpture of Neda breaks free
from formality and brings one quickly into a realm of light and spirit,
which only folded, hammered, heated and burnished bronzes can do.
Paula’s work directs, without speaking.
is considered by many art lovers one of the best sculptors in the
country. This talented American artist has an eye for detail and her
powerful compositions are capturing the attention of art enthusiasts
skill with bronze sculpture vividly captures the spirit and movement of
her subjects, both in human sculpture and animal sculpture, and only is
surpassed by her sensitive attention to detail. Paula is deservedly
celebrated for the compelling realism of her bronze sculpture.
salute Paula Slater, by all accounts, for distinguishing herself as a
tireless and devoted artist who stands for freedom, justice and liberty.
We salute Master Sculptor, Paula Slater, for her stand on the right side
of history at this critical juncture and for lending her invaluable
support to the people of Iran.
Whilst we mourn Neda’s passing, let us celebrate her life through the
hands of a brilliant artist, Paula Slater.
Paula’s devotion to sculpture has been acknowledged through the awards
and recognitions that have been bestowed upon her and her work.
And she really wanted to
donate her time and talents to immortalize Neda's image in bronze. "These
two portraits of Neda are gifts from my heart to the Iranian people
to show my solidarity with their fight for freedom and democracy. I want
them to know they are not alone," says Paula.
Here is our message to you dear Paula: We, free Iranian expatriates as
well as the diverse people of Iran, express our deepest appreciation for
your magnificent work and support. You have energized us by your
passion, compassion and the beautiful creation of Neda’s sculptures. You
have given us great courage and hope to continue our struggle for
freedom and justice in Iran. We will meet any challenge and pay any
price to defeat tyranny and we will not rest until Iran is completely
free of the despotic rule of the Mullahs.