Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson , 2023
Bernard Pras 

Take a picture with Willie! While not everyone can have the honor of meeting the man himself, the legendary leader of Outlaw Country has been captured here for all to enjoy by French anamorphic artist Bernard Pras. Willie Nelson has graced Merriweather Post Pavilion’s stage 20 times over the decades, including many performances alongside other musical juggernauts from Merle Haggard to Kacey Musgraves, two historic duets with then-President Jimmy Carter, and an unforgettable performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2017.

Willie learned to play guitar when he was just six years old, and he’s had Trigger, his iconic acoustic, since 1969. Willie rose to prominence as a key figure in the “Outlaw Country” movement in the 1970s, with hits like “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind.” He’s always been a family man, with his sister Bobbie Nelson playing in his Family band for nearly 50 years until her passing in 2022 and his sons, Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson (under the moniker Particle Kid) sharing I.M.P. stages with their dad many times over the years, including two nights at the 9:30 Club.

Beyond his music, Willie Nelson is also celebrated for his activism and philanthropy, championing causes like environmentalism, marijuana legalization, and farmers’ rights, showcasing a multi-dimensional legacy that extends far beyond the boundaries of country music.


Here at Merriweather, we love art and all things eco-friendly, so we jumped at the opportunity to feature the work of Bernard Pras at the Pavilion. An anamorphic sculptor whose work is made entirely out of found objects and recycled items, Pras proves that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

For these sculptures of Robert Plant, Miles Davis, Dolly Parton, Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner, and Willie Nelson, Pras gathered materials from Howard County Alfa Ridge landfill and local thrift stores and included elements donated by Columbia’s music schools. Merriweather’s long standing focus on sustainability meshes beautifully with Pras’ art in these displays.

At the sculpture reveal in 2022, Consul General of France, François Penguilly said, “Each detail of Bernard Pras’s works is an invitation to a poetic exploration where one wonders about the history of the object and its possible connections with the work represented. One could spend hours gazing at each portrait, identifying all the little bits and pieces that make up a portrait subject’s facial features, hair, body, and clothing.”

Born in 1952 in Roumazières, France, Pras trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse where he became inspired by Salvador Dali, Edvard Munch, Hiroshige, and Giuseppe Arcimboldo. A painter, sculptor, and photographer, Pras lives and works in Montreuil, near Paris.

Click here to be amazed.