Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter

Entrance passageway, between bottom of escalators and mezzanine.

Ocean Piece, 1995
Jorge Martin
67' l x 9.6' h

Archives-Navy Memorial
Ocean Piece - 1995Gift from the Metropolitano de Lisboa (Lisbon Metro) of Portugal.

Created by Portuguese artist Jorge Martins, this work incorporates the poems Ocidente by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, and Prayer of Columbus by American poet Walt Whitman. Ocean Piece was created by the artist to evoke notions of the constant ebb and flow of life.

Ocidente (The West), 1934
Fernando Pessoa

Com duas mãos - o Acto e o Destino -
Desvendámos. No mesmo gesto, ao céu
Uma ergue o fecho trémulo e divino
E a outra afasta o véu.

Fosse a hora que haver ou a que havia
A mão que ao Ocidente o véu rasgou,
Foi a alma a Ciência e corpo a ousadia
Da mão que desvendou.

Fosse Acaso, ou Vontade, ou Temporal
A mão que ergueu o facho que luziu,
Foi Deus a alma e o corpo Portugal
Da mão que o conduziu.

Prayer of Columbus, 1874 (excerpt)
Walt Whitman

With two hands - Deed and Fate
We have unveiled in the same gesture, one
Raises the flickering and divine torch
While the other draws the veil aside.

Whether the hour was ripe or it owned
The hand that tore the Western veil,
Science was the soul and Audacity the body
Of the hand that unveiled it.

Whether the hand rose the glittering torch
Out of Fortune, Will or Tempest,
God was the soul and Portugal the body
Of the hand that bore it

All my emprises have been fill'd with Thee,
My speculations, plans, begun and carried on in thoughts of Thee,
Sailing the deep, or journeying the land for Thee;
Intentions, purports, aspirations mine-leaving results to Thee.

O I am sure they really come from Thee!
The urge, the ardor, the unconquerable will,
The potent, felt, interior command, stronger than words,
A message from the Heavens, whispering to me even in sleep,
These sped me on.

By me, and these, the work so far accomplish'd (for what has been, has been);
By me Earth's elder, cloy'd and stifled lands, uncloy'd, unloos'd;
By me the hemispheres rounded and tied-the unknown to the known.

Jorge Martins was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1940. Ongoing political and social issues forced him to flee the country in 1961. He created an atelier in the U.S. in 1975, and a second in Lisbon in 1986. Mr. Martins has works in both public and private collections in Lisbon, Porto and Islands, Paris, Denmark and Luanda, and a range of works in public space, such as Ocean Piece, a high relief in the Metro Station Archives/Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. (1995).