Concretia Dementia across the globe


grotto of the redemption

A man named Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat built bizarre sculpture parks on both sides of the Mekong River, near Vientiane, Laos and Nong Khai, Thailand. In doing this, he was obviously reacting to a compulsion that affects many aging men. In Iowa we have the Grotto of the Redemption near West Bend, Iowa where Father Paul Dobberstein showed the same non-stop enthusiasm and determination to stick stuff together that normally doesn’t belong.

On a smaller scale, you see these things all the time, usually shrines to the local Virgin Mary apparition in people’s back yards, or statues of Buddha of hill tops or in caves. I don’t think there’s a cave in Thailand that doesn’t have several statues of Buddha inside.

The desire to build these probably stems from ever increasing intimations of mortality that prod the builder to leave a legacy. Young men sow oats, old men build sculpture gardens.