Cultural Treasure, Masterpiece, Offering, Craft, Toy: Alexander Shundi's Fantasy Trains are an Epic Feast
Alexander Shundi's Fantasy Trains spring from the memory of a home-made train made by a loving father and given as a birthday present to the 8 year-old artist-to-be in Italy in 1952. Shundi has taken this metaphor of train as a child's toy as well as a symbol of modernity and made a work of Proustian richness and Shakespearean dimensionality, Fantasy Trains are a playful synthesis on art history, death, war, world cultures, capitalism, food, soccer, Pinocchio and so much more, all presented with wonder, whimsy, irony and a wicked sense of humor. There is no subject or question that is not transformed into an abundant meditation on life, history, memory, desires, nostalgia and what it means to be human.
Alexander Shundi does not have an army of assistants nor does he use computers to make his work. His materials are humble found objects, roller skate wheels, everyday bits, rock, wood, items from around the world and his own masterful craftsmanship. He gives us an offering that reflects the vibrancy of his world, and he invites us to explore and explode the treasures in our own imaginations. Shundi's art has heart, soul, guts and magic that pulsates with life and points us toward the future. Alex is taught me how to create, and I am deeply grateful for his generosity and extraordinary spirit.