Jon Moro’s Goliath, carved with basswood, will be unveiled on Saturday in Rockport. Photo by Jon Moro

Jon Moro is known for carving wooden sculptures of famous athletes in action. The Rockport artist has rendered Larry Bird taking a jump shot, Paul Kariya tearing up the ice, and David Ortiz swinging his bat.

In response to the coronavirus, Moro carved a daring and undersized David as he is about to take on a towering Goliath, the two combatants in the inspirational biblical tale of the underdog overcoming a more powerful opponent. A coach and athlete in addition to an artist, Moro began the sculptures before the pandemic but the carvings took on greater meaning as the virus shuttered schools, kept people home and reordered lives. Moro planned to unveil the sculptures at an outdoor art opening Saturday at Barnswallow Books in Rockport, now postponed to its rain date on Sunday.

“If you apply it to your own life, Goliath can take on many forms, and all those forms boil down to fear at some point – fear that I am not enough, fear that I am going to lose something, fear of death,” he said. “Fear robs us of our creativity and peace and, these days, our connection with other people. If we are David, we need to keep seeking that connection and fighting for creativity in the face of Goliath, which could be a lot of things in our world today.”

In addition to his work as a sculptor, Jon Moro is also a coach. Photo by Patrisha McLean

He said the sculptures represent his faith and his passion for sports. Moro played basketball, baseball and soccer, winning a state title in basketball in 1999. He coaches basketball at Camden Hills, his alma mater. Moro, who is represented by Leslie Curtis Designs in Camden, will discuss his creative process and artistic decisions during the opening at the bookstore on Russell Avenue.

Most of the depictions of David and Goliath that he researched are static scenes, with Goliath standing upright and David cowering. Moro creates a fight scene. Goliath has one leg raised, an arm cocked with a spear. David is charging, seemingly unafraid of his larger, better-armed foe. In David’s sling is a purple stone, which Moro carved with purpleheart wood, a dense hardwood. Purple is the color of kings and represents valor, Moro said.

“I want to show that David is confronting his opponent. It’s not a lucky shot that he is going to take. David is fully confident in his destiny. He knows he will be king,” Moro said. “This world is full of David-and-Goliath stories, especially in the sports world. But something I believe, when those upsets do happen, whether it’s David slaying Goliath or the 1980 U.S. Olympic team beating Russia in hockey, it’s not by chance. It’s teamwork, heart and preparation, and it’s also faith and belief in yourself and each other.”

Both sculptures are on casters, so they can be wheeled around. Goliath is about 5-1/2 feet tall; David stands about 3 feet.

Sunday’s opening is from 2 to 4 p.m. at Barnswallow Books, 166 Russell Ave., Rockport.

The story was updated at 8:56 a.m. Oct. 15 to reflect that the opening has been moved to its rain date, Sunday.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: