May 13, 2017

Living a Double Life as a Daughter of the Famous Panamanian Artist, Al Sprague

I am a forty something mother of three and a wife of a hospital administrator.  We live on a lake in a small North Carolina town.  If you met me today, you would never know that I grew up with a father who was so well respected in a small country the size of South Carolina because of his artistic talent. If you visited my home, you would begin to see the opening of a window into my past and you just might see a glimpse of my double life as a daughter of the famous Panamanian Artist, Al Sprague.

Growing up with a famous father was a life much different than many of my friends ever experienced.  The saying of my last name in Panama always brought on the question, "Are you related to the famous artist, Al Sprague?"  As a teenager, this statement brought the rolling of my eyes and a not-so excited answer of "Yes....."

In high school, I was ridiculed in geometry when I couldn't draw the shapes correctly on the blackboard with "Are you sure you are the daughter of artist Al Sprague?"

I laugh now when I think of this time in my life.  I had no idea of the uniqueness of my childhood. My every day life with my father provided me with the opportunity to stand on the sidelines watching how his artwork enhanced Panama's sense of pride in its culture, heritage, people, and natural resources.  How do you explain that to others who were not exposed to that?

In 2013 I stumbled onto an announcement on FaceBook that Memphis in May International Festival had chosen Panama as its country of honor for 2014.  My brain immediately went into overdrive and I knew I had to pitch the idea of my father being being part of this month-long festival in the city of my college alma mater.  I knew this would be a great opportunity to share my "other life".

What a joy it was to open a door for others to see a different side of my life.  Through this experience, I was reminded, once again, how important my father's artwork is to Panamanians, especially those who have migrated to the United States to live and raise their children. His work captures more than just a moment in time - it expresses a pride in a culture; a way of life; and of a country that is rich in its history and people.

Backstage after the Danilo Perez Jazz Concert

Artist Reception at Gallery with Panamanian Representatives and Memphis in May Representatives
I can't help but smile at the thought of living a double-life as a famous artist's daughter. My every day life has been filled with extraordinary experiences because of my father and his God-Given talent. Thank you dad ... I look forward to many more adventures and experiences in the future. 

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