A nine-time Grammy-award winning musician, a Chumash Indian blessing, Malibu’s first installation of public art and a streaking fire engine from Station 70 were probably the first and only time in the universe those things came together.
And oh yeah, Sting showed up.
The occasion Friday was the dedication of “Freedom,” the totem local resident and music legend Herb Alpert gifted to the people of Malibu. The city may have incorporated in 1991, but it took it 21 years before it got is first piece of public artwork.
Besides being a jazz great, a co-founder of A&M Records and a philanthropist – he regularly gives to music programs – Alpert is also a renowned fine artist in both paint and sculpture, often inspired by Native Americans.
Here are some of Alpert’s remarks:
I’ll give you a little insight into how I came up with this title, ‘Freedom.’ Years ago, I was in Brazil. And I had the American Dream come true but I wasn’t feeling all that great. I wasn’t happy about myself and I was sitting at the end of Ipanema Beach on a rock. The wind was blowing. And I looked up and these birds were just taking the thermals. They were not moving their wings. They were just flying wherever it took them. And I thought to myself, ‘Man, that’s the way I want to be. That’s the life I want. I want to do what I want to do when I feel like doing it.’ And it was a big life experience for me.
And when I think about all the ways that we abuse the Native Americans, I just had to do something. And I wanted to dedicate this statue to all the Native Americans and especially the Chumash Indians. I think they got a raw deal, you know. I don’t know we can make up any of the Native Americanss.
I just want to let you know that I’m happy to be here. I hope you like this piece. You have to see it from many different angles. You know, the one thing about sculpture, it’s like, it can’t just look good from the front. It has to look good all the way around. It has to look good from the other side.