John Wilson

Eternal Presence

a bronze statute of a head

John Wilson. "Eternal Presence". 1985. Bronze maquette. 40" x 30" 37"

This version of John Wilson’s Eternal Presence is a study for the full size, seven-foot tall sculpture which stands outside of the National Center for Afro-American Artists in Boston. Designed as a tribute to the history of black people in Massachusetts, this idealized head has what Wilson describes as “a symbolic black presence infused with a sense of universal humanity.” His concern with the social and political condition of African-Americans has influenced his search for an artistic language that expresses the essential and spiritual qualities of humankind. In Eternal Presence, Wilson combines influences such as the bold, sculptural forms of the Mexican Muralists, the scale and presence of Pre-Columbian Olmec heads, and the serene energy of the Buddha statues in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Funds for the purchase of Eternal Presence were provided by Stephen and Betty Jane Andrus, Pamela and Kenneth Cochrane, Jonathan Cohen, Laurie Dewey, Cathy England, James and Audrey Foster, Jack and Debbie French, Deborah Hawkins, Jamie Jaffee and Richard Dana, Katherine Kirk and Malcolm Gefter, Waleska and Hamilton James, Mary Levin Koch, Joyce and Edward Linde, Melissa Meyer, Meredyth and John Moses, Geoffrey and Claire Nunes, Glenn and Faith Parker, Sandy and Herbert Pollack, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport, Ted and Anna Lou Rhoades, Ruth and Kenneth Scheer, Barbara Sisson, Robert Scott and Diane Spencer, Jeanne and Donald Stanton, Blair and Charles Trippe, Marnie Wengren, John R. White, and Kenneth and Marguerite Wright.

Listen to John Wilson and Nick Capasso, former deCordova Senior Curator, talk about the sculpture.

Join the Trustees

Enjoy 120 sites featuring inspired trails, historic homes, beautiful gardens, farms, summer camps and more.
Become a Member

Lend a Hand

Join a community passionate about a sustainable future and engaged in diverse projects across the state.

Support Our Work

We rely on your generous support to protect the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.