The statues of Dwight D. Eisenhower and a group of paratroopers designed and sculpted by two-time United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year Sergey Eylanbekov for the D.D. Eisenhower Memorial were recently placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The memorial is designed by architect Frank Gehry.
The memorial featuring Eylanbekov’s masterworks will be officially dedicated during a special ceremony on 8 May 2020 – the 75th anniversary of VE Day – on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The scene sculpted by Eylanbekov depicts a moment when Eisenhower spoke to solders with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne division ahead of the Normandy invasion.
Eylanbekov, the United States Sports Academy’s 2020 and 2004 Sport Artist of the Year – Sculptor, was selected to create the sculptures that will commemorate Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II, as 34th President of the United States, and as a Young Man. His sculptures will be placed at the core of the memorial in the nation’s capital. The 36-feet-long stone bas-relief serves as a backdrop for the bronze statues of general Eisenhower and the soldiers. It depicts Normandy coast on the day of the landing. The bas-relief was designed and carved by Eylanbekov and the team of stone carvers. A bas-relief represents a map of the world serves as a background for the sculpture of president Eisenhower with his advisers.
The memorial will be located within a four-acre urban park on Independence Avenue, across from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and adjacent to the U.S. Department of Education.
“Being involved in the creation of the Dwight. D. Eisenhower National Memorial and creating sculptures for the memorial is a great honor to me,” Eylanbekov said. “I can’t overstate the importance of this project in my professional and personal life.
“The sculptures in this project are created for the public, for the people to observe them, to think and respond emotionally. That is where the visual power of art is most evident. I hope the bronze images will be strong enough to impress the visitors to the memorial and live in their memories.
“From the artistic standpoint, in the sculptural composition and in each bronze figure I am trying to express the enormous tension of the moment by using all of my skills as a sculptor. There is no obvious movement in the sculptures. There is only internal pressure and energy expressed through the sculptural form of the faces, hands, and poses of men who are about to go into battle.
“I think of this sculptural group of six soldiers as ‘the wall’. They are all different, they have different feelings of what is about to happen, and at the same time they are absolutely united by the event. Each one of them carries the weight of the future of the free world on their shoulders. Many of them are not going to survive the battle. They and their leader understand both concepts. It is a very complex psychological state for the soldiers as well as for their leader.
“My goal as a sculptor is to translate in bronze the enormous importance of the moment as well as the eternal concept of an ultimate sacrifice for the most important of reasons.
“Historically the fight for freedom has always demanded sacrifice. This relates in different measures to societies, countries as well as to individuals.”
Eylanbekov’s bronze torsos entitled “Venus and Mars” are featured at the entrance to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA). The artist crafted the sculptures in recognition of the marriage of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of the Principality of Monaco, who are both Olympians.