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Sep 23, 2011

Sculptor of Price Bust speaks about experience

While the world recalled experiences with Price, one man has a unique perspective on his face. That is because he studied every muscle, wrinkle and wave of hair on Price’s head. Over a decade ago Steven Okeke, the Sculptor and businessman met George Price. And though Okeke had just become a naturalized Belizean, he too was left humbled and in awe from Price’s aura. Okeke went to work immediately on an art piece that would immortalize Price. Okeke’s bust of Price in bronze, now proudly greets visitors at the Price Center in the Capital.

Steven Okeke, Sculptor

Steven Okeke

“I am very proud to see how so many people love Mr. Price because when I met him about twelve years ago, with the first meeting, I thought this was a great man and for great people like that, you just don’t say thank you. You immortalize them; you say thank you in a very different form.  When I started the project, I did not know so many people had love for him—it was challenging; it was like a crazy idea; what were you trying to do? It was a lot of pressure, but I pressed on. I’m very proud that I met him. He made very great impact on me especially by his life, by his consolidation of my validation; of my idea that you can still do great things with gentle dignity. So it wasn’t just an idea; I saw him doing it. And when I finished this thing and had it put at the George Price Center, it was a milestone for me. Got about fifty photographs of him so that we can see him from different directions and so that when the sculptor is done; it is also to reflect him in his youth, to reflect him in his philosophy and to reflect him as his age. After that we made the original form which is made in special oil clay. And after that I invited Right Honorable Said Musa to take a look at it and after he saw it, he commissioned it. After the oil clay process, we then make a mold of it. From the mold we then also make another mold and with the next mold, we make another mold from which we cast wax. And then from the wax, you make another mold and then you go to the bronze casting surface. The sculptors I cast in different parts and then the different parts I welded together. But for this particular project—because it is the first time it’s being done in Belize like this—I had to cast this thing like three times. Finish the first time; it did not meet my quality. I finish the second time; there were things I didn’t want to identify with. For me to have my signature it has to be the best. So by the time we finished it the third time, it goes into finishing where you polish and then you finish it with some kind of acid to give it that bronze-ish look and then it goes into mounting and commissioning. And then finally it is proudly at the Price Center. It has become a national monument. And I am really proud right now that so many people really admire him.”

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4 Responses for “Sculptor of Price Bust speaks about experience”

  1. belizeanpride says:

    remarkable art, congrats Mr. Steven.

  2. Ricky Malthus says:

    Did anyone commissioned this okeke or is this another nigerian scam to make some money at the death of Father of the Nation?

  3. belizesmallbusiness says:

    People like Ricky will never make Belize develop. To them its all about money and fame. They are not like George Price. Ricky will have to wait for a commission and an advance pay to do the right thing. That sculpture was done about twelve years ago when everyone was still taking the Father of the Nation for granted. The sculptor thought he deserved more and went to work. It was completed even before it was seen fit for him to be accorded the National Hero award. It has been adorning the George Price Center for more than ten years as a national monument. And it is now a befiting memorial all Belizeans can be proud of. If you love Belize Ricky, whoever you are, don’t just tell me – show me by your sacrifice and good works. For talk, as they say, is cheap.

  4. KarmaCatchesCharmeleon says:

    I am thinking that he became inspired after he got into the work; but not the other way around. There is little doubt that he started off on this project to gain from it – maybe not monetarily, but to state his presence or something of the sort. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise: not after just 3-4 years of being in Belize and during which time Mr. Price was already out of power.

    Secondly, I think he did a good job with the bust. Somehow though I see the subtle influence – as should be expected – of Mr. Okeke’s african heritage in the work. He did not capture Mr. Price’s mayan/mestizo features very well. If you doubt me, look at the bust again and you will see what I am saying.

    In any case, we have a bust today because of what he did then and for that I am grateful. I have also heard him on the radio/TV over the past months, and am impressed by his outlook on matters of national interest in general.

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