Focus 2008

Ushuaia - ARS15-01-2008

Project: Monument dedicated to Don Bosco
Date: November 18, 2007
Place: Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
Province: ABA (Argentina Buenos Aires)


The sculpture was based on a 38 cm ceramic model, and eventually became a sculpture 2 metres tall on a round two metre diameter base in reinforced concrete (cement and sand, and a metal structure). The approximate total weight of the statue is two tonnes. It stands on a cylindrical base one metre high and three metres in diameter, covered in stones from around the area which hint at the mountain range overlooking the villages and the southernmost city of the world: Ushuaia.

Base, pedestal and statue cover 7 by 7 metres in all in line with the four cardinal points of the compass. Don Bosco is at the southernmost point looking towards the north.

There is only a hint of faces to the figures, allowing each onlooker his or her own reflection in them. On the other hand the representation of Don Bosco is distinguished by the classically brushed hair and how he stands in relation to the others. Anatomical proportions have been borne in mind, including the presence of children and a woman, but it suggests an undulating, musical rhythm like the waves in the Beagle Channel which the monument faces.

Any omission in the representation of these figures can be supplied through imagining particular movement of arms or legs which seem to approach, reach out, embrace, bless.... This suggestion of movement prevents one from fixing them in any particular form.

Empty spaces play a major role in interpreting the image by inviting an inner, more profound and more interesting viewpoint inviting one to enter within the personalities there rather than to stay with outward appearances.


The sculpture stands in a square by the same name, 'Don Bosco', and it plays with the sunlight the way Henri Moore does with his sculptures. Saving other differences from the work of this famous sculptor, the shadows produce an uninterrupted movement, varying the empty spaces by moment or by day of the year, filling them or resulting in convex elements producing concave hollows, while the light illuminates objects that one sees precisely because of the spaces, which then take on a shape.... All this dynamic process can be observed by spending some moments contemplating the sculpture or by visiting it at different moments of the day or the year. This becomes an endless form of recreation in search of an inner infinity, which I call 'in search of a fourth dimension'.


The mutual relationship between Don Bosco and the youngsters is the message aimed at the spectator, be he or she a local resident or someone on the tourist circuit. The sculpture stands in front of the historical church built by Salesian missionaries, and near other works of singular interest in the immediate area surrounded by the two avenues running along the Maypú coastal area.


This monument to Don Bosco was inaugurated on 18 November 2007 close to the Beatification of Ceferino Namuncurá.

The proposal to erect a monument of this kind was presented to local authorities, who accepted by donating an area close to the sea and situated between the two coastal roads, right in front of the historical church built by Salesian missionaries, and “Don Bosco” College. The street it is on carries Don Bosco's name.
During the blessing and opening, by Bishop Juan Carlos Romanín, Salesian, bishop of Río Gallegos, a message was read out from the Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chavez, one he had written to Fr Ellero expressly for the occasion. The letter mentions, amongst other things that:
“this statue of Don Bosco is one further expression of the Salesian presence in Patagonia and a way of reaffirming the validity of the Preventive System for forming saints like Ceferino Namuncurá. From here (Rome) I stand with the civil, religious, military authorities honouring this significant event through their presence. I offer you and all the blessing of Mary Help of Christians spiritual Star of the South, who has guided the Salesians in this southernmost part of the world”.

Address: Parroquia N.S. de la Merced
San Martin 936
V94 10BFW Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego)
Tel: (02901) 421-234 / 421-368