Driving Question: How can we model a clay sculpture inspired by Mexican beliefs and religious syncretism (the merging of different beliefs) to represent a fusion of our personal beliefs and values?
Project Summary: Life is seen as a transitory stage towards something greater for many belief systems. “El Camino” – meaning “The Path” – represents a merger between the Zapotec and Catholic belief systems in Oaxaca, and the most important one in the construction of Lucas’s faith, Buddhism.
The upper part of Lucas’s sculpture symbolizes the Zapotec’s way towards Mictlan, a place of eternal peace, which consists of a nine-level journey that takes four years to complete. The cross on the opposite end is an element of the Christian faith that embraces the challenges that ultimately become our passports to sanctification. In the middle, they meet to become one, referencing both the syncretism in Oaxaca and the end of duality – a Buddhist concept of spiritual enlightenment.
“Over my weeks in Mexico, I could explore in-depth the values of the belief systems that gave birth to Oaxaca’s unique syncretic landscape. As I appreciated the elements of these highly different cultures, I was able to see a multitude of symbols that resembled my own faith everywhere. The final sculpture I constructed is an embracement of both my learnings and some of my most foundational beliefs about life and the universe.”