Pope Francis will receive a bronze sculpture depicting driver Ayrton Senna this Wednesday, April 17, at 9:30 AM, in the Vatican. Made by Brazilian artist Paula Senna Lalli, a niece of the driver, the “Meu Ayrton” [“My Ayrton”] masterpiece will be delivered by Bianca Senna, Paula’s sister and Director of the Ayrton Senna Institute. It will become part of the collection of the Vatican Museum.
The idea of turning the piece of art into a gift to the Pope (and, subsequently, to Ayrton’s fans), came from Claudio Giovanonni, a businessman and close friend of the Senna family, who knows that the driver’s faith was one of his core values.
The action is part of another tribute to Senna in 2019, when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the legacy left by the three-time F1 champion. “My Ayrton” started being conceived and executed back in 2016, when the driver’s mother, Neyde Senna, commissioned it to her granddaughter, visual artist and musician Paul Senna Lalli.
“I was very proud to be given this mission by my grandmother, who wanted to portray the way he is remembered by the family with lots of warmth. I took on the challenge, even though I knew it would be hard: not many masterpieces like this are approved by our family, and even fewer by grandma (Mrs. Neyde), who is known for having high standards”, says Paula, who has just given birth to her second child and, therefore, will be represented by her sister, Bianca, the Ayrton Senna Institute Director.
The artist created the sculpture during her first pregnancy, using pictures and memories as reference. Paula was also helped by relatives, who posed for her in order to bring life to aspects of Ayrton’s anatomy that images couldn’t capture.
The tribute to Senna in the Vatican, including the sculpture’s delivery to the Pope, will also be the piece’s public unveiling.