–Pietà Project

The Myth & History paintings led me to explore not just how myth shapes culture and culture shapes history, but how art is the messenger for both our mythologies (religion) and our historical course (politics). I began with a search for modern day Madonnas to pair with the Dolorosa (Our Lady of Sorrows) paintings–one each for the abiding tragedies of our time: 9/11 and the Iraq war. Each of those stories ended up demanding a larger treatment, a more comprehensive scale, and so evolved into the Pietà Project. This is the earliest work towards it.

I hope to construct two installations–entitled Confessional: 9/11 Pietà  and Baghdad Morgue: Iraqi Pietà—around parallel historical acts of transformative violence, i.e. violence that dramatically shapes history to come.

Confessional: 9/11 Pietà

In the name of religion, one  group struck out when it felt itself oppressed by the advancement of another group—in the past, the Roman Empire vs. Jewish mysticism…

Confessional: 9/11 Pietà technical drawing–representing pairing of images of Mary Magdalene from The Pietà or Il Compianto (The Lamentation of the Dead Christ) sculpture by Niccolò dell’Arca, ca.1460, and a news photo taken by Stan Honda on Sept 11, 2001 of a woman covered in dust taking refuge in an office building after the top of one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed. (Copyright: By: STAN HONDA/Stringer Date Created: 11 Sep 2001 12:00 AM)

political action

followed by a human reaction

Confessional: 9/11 Pietà–images/concepts/parallels under consideration

Baghdad Morgue: Iraqi Pietà

In the present, the conflict is framed as Muslim fundamentalists vs. Christian/American capitalists…

Baghdad Morgue: Iraq Pietà–technical drawing representing dissolve between image of Coustou sculpture, “Descent from the Cross” and Mirror Gulf stringer news photo of Najem Khalaf showing the body of his dead daughter Nadia at a morgue April 4, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq.(Copyright: Mirrorpix By/Title: Daily Mirror Gulf coverage/Stringer Created: 4 Apr 2003 12:00 AM )

State Action & Human Result: 33 C.E. & Present

Baghdad Morgue: Iraq Pietà–images/concepts/parallels under consideration

Each piece pairs a historically recognized religious sculpture in the Pietà tradition (the pietà, or pity, being the crucifixion of Jesus) with a news image from a parallel moment from current history: a woman emerging from the destruction of the World Trade Towers and a Baghdad father mourning his adult daughter killed in the Iraq War. Each reflects a similar moment of conflict in faith and power, resulting in human tragedy.

The photos below are from an installation workshop at Intersection for the Arts in 2007, where I created a half-scale model installation of the  Confessional: 9/11 Pietà with my uncle, stage carpenter Michael Willcox.

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