Teacher displays sculpture in Bakersfield Museum of Art

Khyra Stiner

Visual arts teacher and department head Gustavo Godoy’s sculpture, which was inspired by the U.S.-Mexico border controversy, is currently on display at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

The sculpture, mostly made of wood, is painted a color described as “MAGA Red”. It is topped with razor wire, which is meant to convey the strength and resourcefulness of those south of the border, Godoy said.

As the son of a Mexican immigrant, Godoy said he wanted to use the sculpture to make a commentary on the country’s current political climate with the border wall.

He said he wished to show the various struggles of those on the other side of the border, while also using the sculpture as a teaching opportunity for his students.

“I teach students that the best work comes from who you are and your life experiences,” Godoy said in an email. “My family came from very poor conditions in Mexico, and was able to pursue the “American dream” that feels now almost unattainable for new arrivals of similar circumstances.”

Godoy said he received the opportunity to build a sculpture for the museum by his former student. He said he built and painted the piece in two weeks after researching and collecting the materials.

“I went back to the Mexican border region around Tijuana to gather some more ideas, and to assess the climate as things have developed politically, then came back and began building the piece,” Godoy said in an email. “I spent a week collecting the used construction materials that I would repurpose to build the piece.”

The piece will be displayed at the museum until May 4. He said he hopes that another art institute will choose to display his work.

Godoy said he encourages his students to incorporate a part of them and what they are passionate about into the work they create, just like he did with this piece. Visual arts student Yvette Copeland ’21 commented on the sculpture and her appreciation for Godoy’s take on the political climate.

“I thought it was really meaningful,” Copeland said. “Especially now, given the current situation with our government. And I loved to see the creativity that went into it.”