Athar Jaber

Stone Talk

by Athar Jaber | 25 February 2024


One Must Be of One’s Own Time 
 – Honoré Daumier

Happy birthday Honoré Daumier

Tomorrow marks the birthday of Honoré Daumier, a 19th century French artist whom I deeply admire for his incisive critique of his fellow countrymen, sparing no one in his work — not the church, lawyers, the judiciary, politicians, nor the monarchy — by highlighting their hypocrisy and corruption. Though primarily known as a painter and printmaker, Daumier was also a prolific sculptor. His captivating clay busts offer a satirical view of French politics and society that I find particularly engaging. Here is a fascinating 16mm film from 1985 that explores Daumier’s life through his printworks, providing insightful perspectives into his artistic journey. 

The politics of stone

Back in 2017, I had the pleasure of carving this sculpture in the beautiful Jerusalem Stone for the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, the university town near Ramallah in the occupied West-Bank.  
But this article points out how in Jerusalem, the mandated use of this stone, sourced from Palestinian quarries, underscores a complex dynamic where cultural preservation intersects with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This industry reveals tensions between economic interdependence and the struggle for national identity amidst ongoing disputes.  

A sculpture symposium

One week ago, coinciding with the opening of the annual Tuwaiq Symposium, I had the honor of being invited by Riyadh Art to serve as a panel speaker for a discussion on public art (here’s a short excerpt of the talk). For those unfamiliar with the symposium, I recommend checking out Designboom’s coverage of this years edition. And I strongly encourage all the sculptors among my readers to keep an eye out for next year’s call for proposals and to submit your own. The symposium presents a fantastic opportunity to be part of the thrilling cultural revolution currently unfolding in Saudi Arabia. 

Back in old form

While Egypt is currently working on a renovation program that aims to restore one of the three Giza pyramids to its original state by reconstructing the granite layer, this article covers how Italy has just created and installed a replica of the colossus of Constantin in Rome. I personally have some mixed feelings about these projects, but regardless of my opinion, I am happy to learn that the missing parts of the statue were modeled by my former student and now 3D sculptor Irene Gaumé.


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.

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Athar Jaber