SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE 8:25 p.m.: The Great of the Serpent sculpture that was stolen just days before it was to be displayed at the Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival has been found, according to a post from the festival’s Facebook page.
The post said the piece will require repair work, and the team that assembled the sculpture is working to have it ready to be displayed by Saturday.
Days ahead of behind revealed at the Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival in San Antonio, a 10-foot tall, 50-foot-long sculpture was stolen early Monday. The art piece had been disassembled and placed inside a U-Haul trailer that was stolen from the 100 block of Lone Star Boulevard.
The creation of the Great of the Serpent sculpture was made possible through the hard work of four artists based in San Antonio.
“It’s all skeleton structure basically made of metal, and the wooden carved out patterns are in,” said Timofay Trofimenkov, who for the past year has worked alongside artists Jorge Luis Gamboa, Peyson Jones and Joseph Rogers on the project. They are all devastated by the theft.
“It was a collective of four people who came together to develop it: woodworkers, welders, conceptual artists and technical artists,” Gamboa said. “It’s something that they’ve taken (and) deprived this city of, an opportunity to be able to witnesses art and be involved in it and be a part.”
Trofimenkov reported the theft to authorities Monday morning. He said he was asleep when someone made their way inside his home and art studio through a window he left cracked open.
According to preliminary information provided by the San Antonio Police Department, the suspect took the keys to Trofimenkov’s 2021 Nissan Frontier with license plate number GYF4960. The trailer is a 1994 UHaul Trailer with license plate number B633973.
“My truck got stolen together with (the art),” Trofimenkov said. “The only thing we need, really, is our (art) piece back. Like, (the) trailer (and truck) is replaceable. (Our art) is something that we want to pull through because we want to share it with the world.”
The large sculpture was broken down to 50 panels of woods and numerous medal rods.
“People might see metal frames that are very long, 12-foot long pieces… and rods that look like a rib cage,” Trofimenkov said.
“They have no clue what all these individual pieces mean, what it just looks like (built),” Gamboa said. “To us, it’s months and months of work, of labor. It’s a labor of love. We put our creative passion into (it) to elevate people’s consciousness and to explore the sacred and divine through art.”
In an email sent by Luminaria, organizers urged people to “bring the serpent home” and report any information that may lead to the suspect to authorities.
The artists remain hopeful that their art will be returned or found in time for Saturday’s contemporary art festival.
“It’s all made out of metal,” Trofimenkov said. “So, the worst fear, for sure, would be (that) somebody can scrap for metal because it’s a very complex piece and it’s disassembled fully.”
Although it isn’t clear exactly what they’ll do if the art pieces aren’t recovered, the artists do plan to be present and participate at some capacity during Saturday’s event.
“We will endeavor to have something that we can at least be representative of what have going on, but it’s not going to be the (original) installation and it won’t have the same effect,” Gamboa said. “We can only hope for the best.”
A person of interest has yet to be identified by investigators. According to SAPD, the vehicle or trailer has not been recovered as of Monday afternoon. Anyone with information is asked to call 210-207-7273.