Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Duterte, Pinoys inspire American sculptor

“RODRIGO Duterte: People’s Last Hope.”

These words captioning a photo of President Rodrigo Duterte looking afar was what sealed the deal for an American sculptor.

Dale Holbrook, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, said the project was difficult as he had never met the guy and only had pictures of him as guides.

He spent time online researching for the perfect photo of Duterte. He said he wanted to capture life, not a stone-cold statue of the president.

“I originally started with him looking down ala JFK (former US president John F. Kennedy) but I don’t think he’s like that.

When I saw the pic, I knew right then that’s the one because I imagine him looking afar...looking to the future,” he said.

“The picture stood out both in body and language. The caption was exactly how many Americans also feel about US presidential candidate Donald Trump,” he said.

Initially an unplanned project, Holbrook said it was the passion and excitement of the Filipinos over Duterte’s presidential bid and victory that inspired him.

Political figure

Although he had previously worked on Manny Pacquiao, Duterte is the first Filipino political figure he sculpted.

Since he started a few weeks ago, the sculpture has undergone several alterations after Holbrook received suggestions from Filipinos who saw the photos he uploaded on Facebook.


“There was one who suggested I open the topmost button of his shirt. She said,’You should open it. That’s the way he wears it.’ I take their suggestions because they’re the ones who know him best,” he said.

The sculpture is made of petroleum-induced clay from the United States.

A retired soldier, Holbrook started carving seven years ago without any background on sculpting.

His first piece, a sculpture of his son, Adam, was inspired by a trip to a museum.


Since then, he has sculpted for both Americans and Filipinos, all free of charge.

“Michelangelo once said, ‘I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’ I’m no Michelangelo but I feel the same passion,” he said.

He said making a statue of a hometown war hero who died from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan was one of the experiences that pushed him to continue pursuing his passion.

The entire town came to witness the unveiling of the statue and when the late soldier’s daughter saw it, she immediately climbed up and said, “That’s my daddy.”

“Not a dry eye in the crowd and never since the birth of my son have I been so proud,” he said.

Holbrook plans to donate the sculpture to the Filipinos, or Duterte, as a symbol of greatness and hope that his country and the Philippines can work together for a better future.
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