Reason as the Leading Motive

Atlas Libertas: Ayn Rand in Guatemala

Posted by Jerry on September 18, 2007

Just in from the wires: A leading university in Guatemala–Central America–will be commemorating the 50th anniversary celebration of the publication of Atlas Shrugged with a series of events. And the star attraction of the events will be the unveiling and dedication of a high-relief sculpture called Atlas Libertas, nearly 15 feet by 15 feet, depicting a human figure supporting the universe!! Here are some excerpts from the news article:

Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM), Latin America’s leading university promoting free markets and individual liberty, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand’s best-selling novel “Atlas Shrugged” through a series of events in early October, including the dedication of Atlas Libertas, a high-relief sculpture nearly 15 feet by 15 feet, which captures the book’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“It is appropriate that Universidad Francisco Marroquín celebrates the publication 50 years ago of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ because this novel embodies UFM’s philosophy of entrepreneurship, creativity, unfettered markets, and individual liberty and responsibility,” said UFM President Giancarlo Ibárgûen S.

He added, “Our activities commemorating the novel’s debut will remind participants that during the last 100 years, entrepreneurs who flourished under capitalism created greater wealth, reduced poverty, and increased well being more than in all previous centuries together. We hope all participants and everyone who views the sculpture from now on will aspire to greatness and a love of freedom, just as Ayn Rand’s heroes did.”

The dedication of the sculpture, the largest piece of art on the campus will be the most visible and permanent reminder of Rand’s promotion of free minds and spirits.

UFM is encouraging online donations in three categories — $100, $1,000, and $5,000 — to fund the sculpture by Walter Peter, Jr., who, before undertaking academic studies, learned to draw and paint from his father, well-known Guatemalan painter Walter Peter, Sr. [bold added]

If you would like to make your donations, visit the Atlas Libertas Web site for more information and also check out the gallery of pictures that document the making of this relief sculture. The following is a brief profile of the artist:

Walter Peter Brenner was born in Guatemala in 1965 to a family of Swiss origin. He has worked as a professional artist for twenty years, dedicating the last twelve to sculpture. His father, renowned Guatemalan painter Walter Peter Koller, taught him to draw and paint. He studied architecture at Universidad Francisco Marroquín and sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Zürich, Switzerland.

He is director of his own art academy, Ars Artis, where he also teaches. He has also taught artistic drawing I and II, and interior and graphic design at the architecture schools of two universities in Guatemala—Rafael Landívar and Istmo.

He has had seven individual shows of his paintings, two of these in Switzerland, and participated in approximately thirty collective shows and several art auctions. Walter is best known as the creator of a ten-meter-tall terracotta monument known as El Coloso de Inmaco (The Inmaco Colossus).

The Guatemalan Olympic Committee awarded him first prize for his participation in Art & Sport 2000, an art competition sponsored by the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland. His prize-winning piece, entitled El Arquero (The Archer), expresses the idea that in order to reach our highest goals we must always aim towards our own destiny.

The program of events includes a conference led by Dr. Yaron Brook, the Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. I’m surprised that Dr. Brook will be traveling to Guatemala to hold a conference there. When is he coming to India!? 🙂 I have had the great pleasure of attending several of his lectures in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. and talking to him personally.

What is most striking about this story is that a university in Guatemala is proudly and unabashedly celebrating its ideological heritage in the philosophy of reason, liberty, and individualism. In contrast, not a single leading university in the United States makes a bold proclamation of such an ideology; instead, they bend over backwards to appease all the politically correct and leftist fads of the present culture.

4 Responses to “Atlas Libertas: Ayn Rand in Guatemala”

  1. mahendrap said

    Perhaps it is only right that a University in Guatemala is celebrating “Atlas Shrugged”, while the US seems to be increasingly ignoring it. Can it be that the countries most desiring of the fruits of Rand’s philosophy are paying it due respect; in contrast to the US, where the fruits have already been eaten?

  2. What’s surprising to me is that the university is flourishing, despite the significant political and cultural deficiencies of the country as a whole.

  3. Taylor O said

    I stopped by Guatemala last week to check it out and it’s amazing. The prominent location on the front of the school is striking, nestled in the lush green, well landscaped setting of UFM it confronts you as you walk in to the business school. There is also a door to the left of the sculpture were you can walk in and see an exhibit of the sketches, mock-ups, molds, and words from the sculptor.

    pictures are here

    Also, to celebrate Atlas Shrugged’s anniversary I brought a copy of the book which I ‘released’ at the Mises library there using the BookCrossing.com tracking system (as well as also releasing them at a train station on the actual anniversary week). This site makes it easy to float books around in public for someone to discover and you can then track where it bounces to online.


  4. […] Comments Steve on Dawkins Needs ObjectivismTaylor O on Atlas Libertas: Ayn Rand in Guatemalaanand on Telegraph on Ayn RandL’Innommable on Telegraph on Ayn RandCharl on Telegraph on […]

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