Giant statues could make their home at a retreat in Machias

EVERETT — The man is about 15 feet tall and has eight arms, holding a hammer, knives and other tools.

The woman is about 12 feet tall and lifts her hands to reveal spiral patterns on her palms.

Each is bright gold with piercing dark eyes.

The statues have been standing watch in front of a home in south Everett that for 14 years was used as a temple by the Cambodian Buddhist Society Of Prasat Ratanak Baramei.

Now, the temple has closed, the property is being sold to a Christian school and the statues need to be moved.

Erin Gualco has a vision of them in her front yard.

“They’ll be perfect for here,” said Gualco, who along with Danielle Gennety runs Our Sacred Acres, a spiritual retreat in Machias.

It’s just a matter of getting them there.

Barry Sarles bought the 3½-acre Everett property in a foreclosure auction and is selling it to the school. He estimates the statues weigh 3,000 to 4,000 pounds apiece —1½ to 2 tons. Their cores are hollow but they’re made with a heavy plaster and painted gold.

“It takes a crane and a flatbed,” he said.

Sarles lives in Lynnwood and has an insurance business in Everett. He buys and sells real estate on the side.

He advertised the statues on Craigslist, offering them for free to anyone who could round up the equipment capable of hauling them off.

He’s had calls from more than 20 interested parties, but so far none have come through with the right rigs.

“Everybody wants cool stuff for free,” Sarles said. “They’re gorgeous, in perfect condition.”

One group said they had the equipment to move the statues but wound up taking only the two smaller, lion-like gargoyles that stood in front of the male figure, he said.

“It was a scam,” Sarles said.

Gualco saw the statues on Craigslist but they’d been claimed by that time, she said. After the lions were removed, Sarles again posted an ad offering the statues for free.

“I just happened to get on right after he had reposted it,” Gualco said. She called and Sarles promised the statues to her if she could get them moved.

Gualco is working to round up help and Sarles said she has first dibs.

“There’s other people on hold until she can get it together or not,” he said. “At this time, she’s Numero Uno.”

Our Sacred Acres provides space for people to get quiet and connect with their spirituality through nature, the women said.

“We honor every expression of spirituality, whatever that may be, and I see these (statues) as a unifying force,” Gennety said.

They’ll bring that along in more ways than one.

They’re located at the end of Valhalla Drive. Votive candles bearing images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, commonly found at Latino markets, have been left at the feet of each figure.

According to one online post about Khmer culture, “baramei” means aura or glow.

That describes the male figure to a “T”, Gualco said.

“It has such an energy,” she said.

The spirals on the female statue’s palms fit the theme of one part of Our Sacred Acres, called the Spiral House, Gualco said.

“One of the core values that I carry is balancing polarities and dualities, and the masculine and feminine is important to me,” Gennety said. The statues, she said, “just spoke to my heart.”

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; bsheets@heraldnet.com.

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