By: The sculptor- Jay Jarvie
In 2009 I wrote the book Pivotal Event as an investigation into the possibility of our country falling into a devastating social/economic collapse. As soon as the book was complete, I knew that I had missed the mark and that merely talking about the possibility was counterintuitive. What was needed was a movement to shift the thinking of man; thinking that has brought us to the edge of this possibility. However, changing man from his deep set ways is not only difficult to do, but just as difficult to define. And once you begin to define the concepts, then there is the barrier of how to precipitate a movement out of it; how to teach the principles or even how to find a listener.
I was born into a line of artists and I have inherited the gift. I don’t, however, call myself an artist; I am a creator! If I need something, I create it. My wife’s wedding dress, machinery, a house, a car, a musical instrument; whatever I need, I build it. At this point in my life what I needed was a way to inspire people. More than just inspire, I needed a symbol of the intention of my work.
As an inspiration, the Statue of Liberty was close to being that symbol. She has become an iconic symbol of the freedoms secured for us by the founding fathers. What I envisioned, however, was a symbol of what is to be done with that freedom to truly elevate us to a higher level of civilization. We have great freedoms, but we are once again slipping back into losing those freedoms and not making the “Quantum Leap” into a true and lasting peaceful society.
While I was contemplating these things I remembered a quote by the late Viktor Frankl, psychologist and holocaust survivor of Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps. Viktor recommended that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast. This was his way of emphasizing that with liberty comes responsibility; and if we are going to visually pay homage to our freedoms in the Statue of Liberty then we should have a second visible reminder of the responsibility we also hold. I became fixated with this idea and it occupied much of my thought. Then one day the image of the statue came to me. I started visualizing the symbolism that might be captured in such a monument. From visualization comes reality and as the clay started to rise something told me she, this statue, was more than “responsibility.”
More than Responsibility
When contemplating the construction of a colossal sized monument and the power of its presence, the need for greater symbolism and meaning seemed to manifest itself to me. Is there more to holding liberty than responsibility? Yes! I determined and set about trying to define what else balanced our freedom and what else people should see in a monument. What else would inspire people to support liberty and move forward? Out of contemplation comes inspiration and suddenly the word “Providence” came into my head. I pulled six different dictionary references together to help me more fully understand the word. As I studied the concept of providence one of those “Aaha!” moments descended on me. Surely she would be more than responsibility; yes, she was Providence. Providence included responsibility and much more.
The word providence comes via French from Latin providentia or to provide, but its meaning has come to explain a greater encompassing of the act of providing. Providence is the foreseeing care and guidance over man and the creatures of the earth. Often this is associated with divine providence or God’s care and guidance over the earth, but does include man’s care and guidance over other men and the creatures of the earth as well. Providence must also include providing for one self; for a man cannot (or will have great difficulty) with providence towards others if he cannot provide, care and guide himself to any degree. Providence is an understanding that our dependence (on God, others and self) is the only thing that can complete our independence or liberty. For having gained providence from God, we are then able to provide providence for ourselves, and after ourselves, others.
So here we are now with a vision; the dream of a monument full of symbolism. From the dream maybe a listener, and with a listener perhaps someone teachable, and from the teachable perchance a movement!
We hope you will join us in the dream and the journey. Follow the link below to see how we are funding this project and how you can help: Go to the Funding Page Now
The Monuments Symbolism
symbols are visual items representing something different. Often the symbol represents ideas; ideas that are not visible, but have some association with the visible symbol.
The sword- The sword is most often the symbol of authority. In Providence’s case, authority executed rightly as would God, or divine authority. The sword is a symbolic reminder and ensign of God’s providence.
There are indented markings on the face of the blade that will show the blacksmith where his forge may one day turn the sword into a pruning hook; that day when all men operate with providence. Additionally, the sword in many cultural contexts represents discrimination of thought. In this symbolism the sword cuts away ignorance. In the military, the sword is an emblem of honor and incites the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue; a symbol of liberty and strength.
The Armor- Providence wears Roman pteruges (ter-OO-gees) over her skirt and a full metal breastplate as armor. She does not wear it as to battle, but wears it under her robe in readiness. Her armor represents preparedness.
The Shield- The shield itself is most obviously a symbol of protection, but deeper symbolism asks us what provides protection. Truth! Truth provides protection. When one knows truth he has great power to his advantage, power that protects. Providence carries her shield on her shoulder, as with her other armor, she is not at war, but merely ready for defense. She does not attempt to confound with her truth or gain dominion, but holds it in ready.
The scrolls- In her left hand, Providence holds two scrolls representing knowledge and wisdom. It is important that she holds these two for without one or the other, singularly, they become void. Without knowledge there can be no great wisdom; without wisdom, knowledge can be misused or even dangerous. She holds the two to balance her understanding.
Blowing robes- Providence stands on her pedestal with her robes blowing in the wind, but even in this gale she stands steadfast. This represents strength in adversity.
The Snake under foot- In the context of the Statue of Providence the snake (serpent) represents evil or a divergence from the philosophy of turning all men to providence. Hence Providence is stepping on the head of evil or crushing evil. In association with that imagery, a snake represents the potential for inflicting great pain or even death from a small creature, but providence is a way to prevail over life’s perils.
The size- The original sculpture titled, Providence Lifts All, was done in clay with the female figure standing 40 inches tall. The full height with the extended arm and sword adds another 16 inches to complete a full 56 inches. This is a scale of 1/30th which will make the finished monument 100’ tall from her feet to the top of her head and a full 140’ from her foot to the tip of her sword. Providence will stand on a 40 foot high pedestal making the monument 180 feet tall in total. There is symbolism as well in the monument’s size. Colossal sized monuments reflect that a large portion of the population agree to the intent of its symbolism.