There is a Candle in My heart
Materials Cast glass, carved lass, bronze, and wood
This piece is about one man’s quest to educate young women in the most isolated mountain regions of Central Asia. In 1993, Greg Mortenson, an American mountain climber lost his way after a failed attempt to climb K2 the second highest peak in the Himalayas. Separated from his group, he was rescued by montagnards from the village of Korph in Pakistan. Mortenson made a promise to return and build a school, which was the dream of Haji Ali, the nurmadhar or chief of the village. These people are called Balti and they survive in the least hospitable high-altitude mountain valleys of Northern Pakistan. A year later after raising a meager sum of money from small contributions he returned to build the school. Before this was to happen, he had to build a swinging cable suspension bridge to forge the river at the base of the village. After the completion of this project Mortenson went on to establish the Central Asia Institute and to date, he and his loyal band have built over 130 schools in the farthest reaches of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The resource material for this sculpture comes from two books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools”. The characters depicted are Greg Mortenson, Haji Ali, and three anonymous students who benefited from this incredible vision. The rewards of this education have been particularly impressive in the areas of health, nutrition, and living conditions of these remote peoples. Mortenson’s dream is to build peace in these two war torn countries one school at a time. The title of the piece comes from a line of poetry by Rumi the Persian mystic poet of the 13th century.