The Art: Les Voyageurs
The Artist: Bruno Catalano

About the Work:

What does it mean to call a place home?

Most of us take the notion of home for granted because we rarely leave it for long. But what about the others: the young child who moves town and has to leave his school friends behind? The entrepreneur always overseas on business? The refugee that flees the land they love in order to save their life?

Sculptor Bruno Catalano is is one of these people. At age 12, his family left Morocco to settle in France. For his older siblings, the call to new adventure might have been thrilling, but not for him.

“I felt that a part of me was gone and will never come back.”

In his 20s, he became a sailor, and travelled around the world.

Two years after commencing his study of sculpture, Catalano established a studio and started working on his art. His style was professional, but conventional, and it may have stayed that way, if not for a simple mistake.

It was 2004, and Catalano was working on a piece when he made an error in the figure’s chest. Attempting to fix it, he dug out the clay figure’s chest…and was immediately struck by a stunning new concept.

The result was Los Voyageurs, a ten-piece series erected in Marseilles to honour the nomads, the travellers, the immigrants, and recognise what it means to leave home.

Each figure, cast in bronze, is missing critical parts of their body. With their upper torsos seemingly unsupported, the characters look almost alien; almost as if, in their monumental journeys, they have lost the part of them that makes them human.

The great artists have a way of sharing a message through what they withhold as through what they choose to say. Catalano’s Los Voyagues is a memorable example of this, and a poignant piece in the current political landscape.

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