Celebrating 400 years since the Mayflower voyage…

Framed print celebrating The Mayflower 400th year of its maiden voyage by Alberto Martinez

The Mayflower Alberto Martinez

“The best part of the journey is the surprise and wonder along the way.”

Alberto Martinez paints a ship. Its passengers are heading west. The travellers are looking from a better world and a better life. Some anticipate the chance to build a better future for their families, some are excited by the opportunity of new land, while for others on board, the offer of freedom and adventure is too good to turn down.

The Mayflower set sail on 16th September 1620 from Plymouth, UK, to voyage to America, known to English explorers at the time as the New World. Martinez uses the ship as a metaphor for hope and the want of a better life that has been seen in many civilisations throughout history. The need to see what is over the horizon. The United Kingdom is a crowded, progressive country that celebrates its development and achievement however physically it is constrained from growing by the confines of the sea.

Alberto Martinez fills his sails with images of newspapers and social media, the engines of public opinion and political discourse. These engines are pushing the ship with the prevailing wind towards the promised land. Lady Liberty’s torch is boldly emblazoned showing hope for a better life – a symbol of the American dream. The watchface and hands, a symbol of time moving forward and evolving. The date shows the number eleven, a refence to Apollo 11: another great journey to a new frontier.

The ship’s mast is a pencil. Alberto comments that knowledge and education are the pillars of civilisation. The ship is laden with fruit and a piggy bank showing us the importance of having provisions to survive and money to carve the future we desire. The spoons (apart from being associated with the British cuppa) make many of us think of our stomachs, a reference to that gut feeling when deciding when and where to try new things.

The ship is heading for a head on collision with a paper boat, the dollar bill sail a metaphor for the world’s economy. Alberto asks, “Are we on course for an impact?”

Martinez fills his ship with colourful characters. We see Lego people: some charismatic members of modern society. We see innocent childhood animals juxtaposed with the bullets of conflict. In true Alberto style, we see the Cuban flag flying, a nod to his heritage as well as animals from his home country. The colourful ducks, balloons and flying penguin give the image a sense of playfulness and makes you smile.

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