Athar Jaber

Stone Talk

by Athar Jaber | 17 March 2024


“Every nation that wants to be civilized, progressive and evolved must, no matter what, make sculpture and educate sculptors. A nation who cannot make statues is a nation who cannot do the things required by science, and one must admit that such a nation has no place on the road to progress”. 

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk 

Happy birthday François Girardon

Today, we celebrate François Girardon, born on March 17, 1628. Girardon was the rockstar sculptor of Louis XIV’s France, crafting marble and bronze masterworks that still echoes through the halls and the gardens of Versailles and epitomize the grandeur of the Baroque era. This short video provides an overview of Girardon’s most admirable achievements, while this one deep dives into his now lost equestrian statue of the Sun King.   

Under the desert sun

Desert X Al Ula 2024 opened a month ago, and one of my favorite works presented is “The Desert Has No Surface” by Caline Aoun. Unfortunately, this work hasn’t been extensively covered, so aside from images, there’s not much out there to read about it. Nonetheless, I find it a stunning work and would love for you to see it, if not in person, then at least through some images. 
Here, curator Neville Wakefield does a good job at showing the work and has written a helpful text to describe it. Check out his other posts on Instagram to see good coverage of all the other sculptures presented at this year’s edition. 

Debunking sculptural myths

The common belief that stone sculpture is a field only for strong men, due to its physically demanding nature, is a misconception I’ve always wanted to challenge. Stone carving does require hard work, but it’s not exclusive to any gender. A perfect example to shatter this stereotype is Edmonia Lewis “Wildfire”, a late 19th-century artist who not only excelled in sculpting stone but also overcame widespread skepticism being the first black-Native sculptor of either sex to achieve international recognition. This very short interview is a good way to start getting to know her and her work. 

Six black women sculptors

A few days ago, I shared this article with a friend, and since it’s closely related to the previous point, why not share it here too. It’s a brief overview of six African American women sculptors who have been active in the US from the mid-19th century to the present. 


Do you have specific question around sculpture and stone carving? Submit your question here below and I’ll do my best to answer it in one of the next Stone Talk Newsletters.

I hope you enjoyed these points and that you learned something new.

Until next week,


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On Sundays, at irregular intervals, I send out Stone Talk, a newsletter where you’ll find tips and recommendations on things I believe are worth watching, listening, reading, visiting or exploring. All related to (stone) sculpture and stone carving.

The newsletter is also a great way to stay updated with my artistic activities such as exhibitions, new works, limited editions, publications, as well as my educational activities such as  courses, workshops, lectures, tutorials and much more.

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