Hope and Resurrection
One of the reasons I was attracted to the study of art was that art is always so much more than what’s visual. It’s politics, literature, religion. It’s about drawing out an emotion and telling a story. The piece captured above reminded me of just how powerful something so simple can be.
But before I go on, let me take a step backwards and explain. I was walking through the piazza yesterday on my way to get a coffee when I noticed something colorful on the wall. I mentally noted to go back and take a closer look later and then returned back to work. Later in the day I logged into Flickr and saw a photo of this piece of art in the piazza and realized it was the work of Omino71 and Mr. Klevra, who I mentioned during the opening and finishing parties of Vinyl Factory. I’m always especially interested in street art that looks at classical traditions, so after work I went back to take some pictures. As I was shooting away a little girl ran into the frame, attracted by the colorful piece of art. She started touching it and saying “Bello bello” (Beautiful, beautiful) over and over again. This is what I captured and it was probably the nicest thing I’ve seen in months.
I asked the artists for an explanation behind the piece, but they said it would be nicer to see what I had to say first, so here it goes. The word “hope” is written on the sleeve of the Christ child, with the phrase above stating “Only after disaster can we resurrect.” This immediately made me reflect on the recent tragedy of the earthquake in Abruzzo, with thousand left without homes or possessions. The words made me thing that in some ways it really is true that it’s somehow only after a tragedy of enormous magnitude do we often come together as a society to rebuild our way of life. Does this have to be about Abruzzo? No, certainly not. In fact, I have no idea if it is, but really the theme is universal. One only need look at the news and see situations in Darfur, Israel, even the world economic crisis and the destruction that’s causing to see that hope is always needed in the wake of disaster.
Through history artists have constantly asked viewers to reflect on tragedy, the first pieces that came to my mind were Picasso’s Guernica and Goya’s The Third of May 1808. Both pieces reflect the tragedy of war and though don’t send the same message of hope, do ask us to remember and recall the emotion found in these tragedies. In searching for some recent examples, I came across the work of Kara Walker, an American artist who focused heavily on Hurricane Katrina, forcing the audience to reflect on the social and racial causes behind the aftermath of that event. And then we have Robert Indiana, the pop artist who first became famous for his LOVE sculptures, and who debuted his HOPE series in early 2009. Turning back to the world of street art, these beautifully created lanterns by This Is Limbo, who works in Tel Aviv, brings a very powerfully emotional response.
I bring up such different styles and types just to show that while artists may work in different manners, I think there is always the intention to touch the viewer in some way, hopefully giving them pause of reflect. What about you guys? Have you ever been emotionally touched by a piece of art?
By the way, the one piece of information I was able to dig out from Omino71 was that this is just a preview of a larger piece they hope to beautiful in one of the piazzas in Rome—so keep your eyes peeled! And if you want to see the piece for yourselves, head over to Piazza Madonna dei Monti in Rome while it’s still up.