Sculptor of Snow

Dumping of snow inspires Juneau artist to create sculpture

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2003

Mendenhall Valley resident Roland Lumbab reluctantly went outside Monday, his day off, to shovel his driveway. As he cleared off his car, adding the snow to a pile of snow taller than he is, he had an inspiration. Ice scraper in hand, he sculpted the pile into a giant head.

"When I was stacking it, it went too high and I thought, 'I could do something about this,' " said Lumbab.

The sculpture measured about 6 feet high and more than 6 feet wide at its base Wednesday, after the rain and warmer temperatures caused it to shrink at least a foot, Lumbab said. With wild, matted hair and a long beard to match, the head could be that of a Rastafarian or of a European Father Christmas.

But that wasn't exactly what Lumbab was going for.

"I was thinking about Jesus, but it doesn't look like Jesus," he said, suggesting the man could be an early settler. "He's spending a lot of time in the wilderness, probably."

Lumbab, 42, has been drawing since he was a boy, but he took his first art class six years ago while living in California. Though he doesn't have that much time to devote to his art - he works two jobs - his home is filled with his work. There are paintings of musical instruments and of Jesus Christ, and a drawing that is a study in pencil shades. Atop his TV and by its side stand two ceramic vessels sculpted in the shape of ancient-Greek-inspired warrior masks. An in-progress rendering of the Last Supper in blue plastic foam sits on a blue plastic foam shelf above the table.

Lumbab moved to the United States from the Philippines 21 years ago. He came to Juneau four years ago at the invitation of one of his 15 siblings.

Although he's seen four winters here, this week was the first time he used the snow as a sculpting medium.

Now that he's done it, he said he'll probably do it again. What would he sculpt?

"Maybe two guys wrestling."

• Masha Herbst can be reached at

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