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Orphao, a.k.a.Lil Wayne, © 2011, Christine Palamidessi

This is a Rap and Roll sculpture dedicated to charming Orpheus, the Greek God of Music, whose kindred spirit I saw in the American Rap Artist Lil Wayne. As a young man Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice, who died on their wedding day from a snake bite. Orpheus then travelled to the land of the dead to plead for her life. He was a “bad boy,” convinced his stealthiness, smoothness and talent could trick the gods. His music helped him slip through gates and past rules. “Gangstas don’t ask questions; they don’t think about death because that would be stupid,” is what Lil Wayne has said.

The sculpture’s chest is shaped both to be a handsome young man and a turtle shell marked with plastron scutes. The inside scutes become a story board, each square expressing vulnerability and secrets, some mine, some imagined to be Orphao’s and Lil Wayne’s. The outside shell is embossed with Lil Wayne’s actual tattoos, male slogans about belonging and loyalty. A serpent twines from front to back, like the serpent who bit Eurydice, whose scales exhale the three-headed dog Cerebus and whose circling shape strangles young love if we point loaded guns at the gods.