For about thirty years a self-taught sculptor has been creating a cave city that stuns everyone who gets there.
Ra Paulette works alone, having only his dog as a companion. He also uses only tools for digging and his rich imagination as well.
Scale and beauty of the sculptor’s works really stuns. It is hard to believe that all these palaces are hand-made without using special equipment, somebody’s assistance and education.
Since 1987 Paulette was creating these caves in deserted sandy cliffs of New Mexico in the south-west United States. He finds hollows, widens and deepens them, put them into shape and covers surfaces with wonderful patterns and sculptures.
Creations are hard to be named the caves. They are rather underground palaces consisting of arched halls connected by paths. In the walls and the ceiling of the caves there are window openings so the spaces are flooded with bright light through the day. There is also a Paulette’s private apartment where he has everything for his comfort living.
Paulette called his first work Heart Chamber. Later this cave has become to be in demand of tourists and the cave was even buried as it wasn’t intended for huge amount of visitors and was created without safety measures.
Paulette who’s almost 70 years old hadn’t become sculptor at once. In his youth he didn’t manage to get good education, he was refused to be taken to the army, he even hadn’t graduated from college. He tried many different activities before he became what he is today.
Ra worked as a guard, a doorman, a postman, and a farmer. Between changes of working places he was hitchhiking across the country. In 1985 Paulette became a excavator operator in Dixon and understood that it was his meaning of life to create beautiful things by his own hands.
The master’s works wasn’t noticed for a long time. Only after when director Jeffrey Karoff found out about the sculptor, Paulette’s skill was widely acknowledged.
In 2013 Karoff made documentary film “Cave Digger” that was about work of a sculptor who lives in caves for many months. Ra played the lead in this film. A year later the movie was nominated for Oscar as the best documentary film.
In total the sculptor made 14 caves. Currently he’s working over his largest project that already lasts for about 10 years.
They say, one of the caves was proposed for sale – it costs $995000.