Living Statues

You’ve seen them in street corners, marketplaces, alleyways and anywhere where there’s passing traffic. These ‘statues’ remain immobile and can fool even pigeons..only to give a wink at the drop of coins into the tips box.

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Living statues..convincing enough even for the birds

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The Silver Man...Fisherman's Wharf,San Francisco

A living statue refers to a mime artist who poses like a statue or mannequin, usually with realistic statue-like makeup, sometimes for hours at a time. It is an art that understandably requires a great deal of patience and physical stamina. And its a serious business..there are annual competitions in Arnhem, Holland, Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California, to name a few.

Some living statues really take the immobility aspect to extremes. One of them, Antonia Santos, aka Staticman, is the Guinness World Record Holder for standing still for 20 hours, 11 minutes and 38 seconds in 2003!  He has been a living statue since 1987, starting off performing at Las Ramblas in Barcelona but now to be found all over Europe.


FOP - muscles and soft tissues gradually are replaced by bone

Interestingly, there have been reports that some living statues suffer from rare medical conditions that enable them to immobilise longer. A case in point is ‘sleeping sickness‘, a type of encephalitis which was made famous in the movie “Awakenings” starring Robert de Niro & Robin Williams.

On a sadder note, sufferers of FOP (fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva) causes bone to form in muscles, tendons and ligaments, creating a second skeleton that encases the body in a prison of bone. In a macabre manifestation, patients may eventually turn into living statues — standing, arms folded, sitting or even cruelly twisted. Incurable, sufferers don’t live beyond 45.

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2 responses

  1. FOP-sounds frightening to me!

  2. FOP is extremely frightening, especially to my husband and I, our 5 year old daughter was just diagnosed with it 4 weeks ago, after several diagnostic procedures by drs who were unaware of the symproms of it and made her worse. Our goal is to raise awareness, so that children may be diagnosed at birth. Please visit our website at for more information on her and FOP. Thank you

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