Hetain Patel’s sculpture of a Transformer built out of a Fiesta car is more than just a symbol of how much he loves the Autobots. The Fiesta Transformer is in tight connection with everything that defines working class Britain, while also hinting at people from India.
The vehicle that ended up as a Transformer after assiduous work is in fact a Ford Fiesta from 1988. Hetain Patel explained why this particular car had to be at the basis of his first sculpture: “My first car was a 1988 Ford Fiesta gifted to me by my father as I turned 17. Born in the UK to immigrant Indian parents, the passing of a car between generations provided me with my first taste of independence. In this new work, I’ve turned my hand to a newly acquired 1988 Ford Fiesta of the same specifications as my original car to create my first sculpture. Manufactured in England, this car stands as a symbol of working class Britain, a native body, albeit here a car body.”
Building the Fiesta Transformer was not easy, but Hetain Patel’s father and brother helped him to finish the job.
The artist points out that his sculpture is not similar to the autobots featured in the movies, as those ones are based on powerful sports cars or trucks. Instead, Hetain Patel opted for a common car that sits naturally in a human-like position.
I’ve recently watched Hetain Patel’s TED Talk, so when I stumbled upon this sculpture, I was more than pleasantly surprised. One of the things from his speech that stuck to my mind is the fact that we mimic people we like, and in particular childhood heroes. The aspect he emphasized is that we shouldn’t be sad when we fail sometimes to be like our heroes, because it is then when we become more like us. Thank you, Hetain Patel, for the important lesson that you have taught me!
I recommend watching his TED Talk, but not only because of the fact I mentioned above. You will notice that the Fiesta Transformer’s position coincides with the position Hetain has at the beginning of his speech. According to the artist, this is a recurring motif that symbolizes the link between the lower classes in India and his immigrant family in the UK. This is definitely among the most meaningful things I’ve seen recently.
The following video includes a timelapse of the Fiesta Transformer‘s construction.