Monday, July 6, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life...the creativity of Pilar Pobil


Just posted on Susan Henderson's wonderful blog, my response to her question, "Who is your hero?"

While there are many people that I admire, there is one who stands out.

While Dr. Paul Farmer is an amazing person (see book, Mountains Beyond Mountains) who came from a very humble beginning to evolve into a man who has influenced and helped to re-shape the direction of the World Health Organization; while he has changed the way that we look at and treat aids and tuberculosis in Haiti and in prisons in the former Soviet Union, he is not at the top of my short list of heroes.

While a friend and former employer, Linda Dolny, was able to re-direct her life from divorced English teacher to a business woman who owns and leads a national leadership training company; while she is able to assist leaders from major companies all over the U.S. and Canada through their leadership transformation, she is not at the top of my list.

While there are so many heroes that I see and read about in everyday life, while I am inspired by every singe one of these people, the person who sits at the top of my short list of heroes is an artist in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pilar Pobil, a woman who grew up on the Spanish island of Mallorca, who experienced the death of her father at age 7, whose own mother discouraged her learning and education, who met an American man on vacation in Mallorca, who married this man and had children with him and a life with him in Salt Lake City, this woman is my hero.

Pilar has encountered obstacles of all kinds throughout her life, and she has overcome all of them through some form of creative expression. She has educated herself by learning from others and from her experiences. In her mid-40s, after her children were all in school, she took up pottery. When the instructor couldn't give her all the attention and help she needed for throwing pots, she used her class time to develop her own style of amazingly beautiful small-scale sculptures. She exhibited, sold and developed quite a following. When she needed to grow creatively, she moved on to painting. Today, Pilar Pobil is one of the best-known artists in Utah, painting large canvas paintings and anything else that she sees. Her home is filled with walls, tiles, closet doors, tables, luggage and shoes...all on exhibit as a Pilar original work of art!

The University of Utah has purchased and commissioned several important works by Pilar Pobil, and they encouraged her to write a book about the stories of her life, which they published as "My Kitchen Table: Sketches from My Life". Oh, this is no 'little old lady', this is a vibrant and independent woman who lives with purpose and balance in her inspiring life. I read about her, I contacted her, we met and are now friends. Her life inspires me to take action towards the dreams in my own life.
And for an interview with Pilar Pobil, have a look at this.