The Guardian

The Guardian by bronze sculpture artist Karen Cauvin Eustis

Bronze   71” x 60” x 30”  Limited Edition of 8

The Guardian is one of the large bronze statues in the Spirit Series.The majority of the works I create are like chapters of a book, reflecting on my spiritual journey through life. This one particular piece is connected to one of the most impactful events of my life. And entwined with the creation of this sculpture, are a series of events that for me personally, created with an almost mystical experience.

Hurricane Katrina was and shall remain an event that changed and re-shaped my life in so very many ways. I was born in New Orleans and grew up visiting the gulf beaches. This area holds my heart and soul, my love. This is my home.

The guardian evolved over a two year period. She was originally conceived as I lounged on the beach reading a book in Waveland, Mississippi. It was a very magical moment, with many dragonflies landing all around me. As I watched them flitting about, my imagination started thinking of them as faerie creatures. As I started to drift off, the vision of a faerie queen or that of a faerie godmother began to take shape – much like the dragonflies I was seeing all around me. She was to be a dragonfly woman.

A year and half into working on this sculpture, and many names and ideas later, I finally heard her name as “the Guardian.” In my imagination I came to see her as a representation, guarding of our coast. Just after naming her, what seemed a coincidence happened that affirmed her naming. While participating with a large group in a guided visualization meditation, she appeared to me. The group was working on inner knowledge. In order to open to this knowing, in the meditation I had to cross through a gateway. I was completely surprised to find “the Guardian,” my sculpture, had come to life in my mind’s eye – and was there in my visualization assisting me in attaining my goal. To my astonishment, during a discussion after the meditation, the moderator referred to this being as the guardian of our inner knowledge. Just as each individual had their own personal experience of what or who had helped them thru this gateway, this guide in my case was my sculpture that had in a sense come alive in my imagination. I was taken aback and brought to tears by the realness of this experience. In what I can only describe as a mystical experience, the Guardian was then and still remains for me, a personified guide to deeper levels of knowing and understanding.

The Guardian, one of Karen's bronze garden sculptures.The Guardian was due to be installed and unveiled, along with a celebration – the very day that hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast. Waveland, Mississippi, was “ground zero” for the hurricane Katrina’s wrath. I wondered “How could this be?” Nothing at this point made any sense as all festivities were canceled and we all braced for the storm.

Even while experiencing all the chaos and destruction that was devastating our region, I was haunted. Why had I been so drawn to this name? It seemed to be whispered to me and yet given the total destruction, her naming seemed like a bad, almost cruel, joke of some kind. It just didn’t make sense to me at all. It would be more than a year before there was a place cleaned and refurbished enough for her to be installed, and through it all I continued to wonder, still with a good deal of confusion almost haunting me at times.

One early morning, after considering the whys endlessly, the answer came to me in what can best be described as a gestalt of understanding. She was created and completed in the midst of tragedy, but to me became a magnificent representation of the heart and spirit of the people, who in time not only endured but actually grew with ferocity.

It was then that I finally understood. She was destined to be a symbol, “the Guardian” of a new hope! – A hope that speaks of genuine positive futures of building and renewal – not a fanciful seemingly doomed “We can always hope.” This sculpture is meant to symbolize the guarding our renewed hope for the future. Now, it is urgent that we as a people feel this renewed hope in each other; united, as our country’s name suggests. Just as the tragedy of hurricane Katrina spotlighted our shortcomings as a nation, it also shed miraculous light on our ability as people – especially as Americans – to come together and help each other.

I realize now that this sculpture is my artistic expression of a guardian of a different perspective on hope. My desire is that by experiencing both the sculpture itself, as well as her adventurous and complex story, that it might inspire others to consider this ‘new’ and yet well- traveled path of hope – that all too many people have lost belief in. This is a hope – better said, an energy of hope – that we need to grow, as we face the challenges ahead of us in these trying times. We need to do this together and united as a people and as a nation!

One of Karen's outdoor bronze statues, the Guardian.
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