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Hope and Resurrection

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 | 6 comments


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.

6 Comments

  1. I just saw a piece on CNN Int’l about Guernica and the controversy about the copy (a tapestry) that was covered up at the UN with blue cloth around time the US declared war against Iraq. The tapestry is currently in an exhibition in the UK.

    I hate that the arts are dismissed in the States as something elitist. I wish folks who believe that could read this post about the little girl and her response to art.

  2. The art is beautiful, but I think the little girl is even more so!

  3. Both pictures are great, but the one with the little girl has to rank as a favorite among many of your works that I have enjoyed.

  4. NYC – I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately the humanities are really undervalued in the US, I feel. There’s just not the emphasis that their should be in schools and I think that trickles down later on. That is one of the things I really do love about Italy. They are very passionate about the arts. What people don’t realize is that art is a visual record of our history and culture and should never be dismissed.

    Hilda and Joan – Thank you very much for your compliments. Sometimes the best pictures happen when you least expect it. The real congratulations goes to the artists, who created something that captured this little girl’s imagination.

  5. I love that regardless of the artist’s intended meaning (be it political, controversial or a personal statement) that art can transcend all meaning and allow us to have a purely visceral reaction like the little girl had. I know that I can easily get wrapped up into what the artist meant or what I can associate with it from my own life. I love how the little girl reminds us that sometimes all art requires from us sometimes is for us to stop, look and admire.

    However, I am still really curious what the artist intended. Is the border textural or is that just a trick of the photography? It almost looks like lace, and reminds me of those valentines we used to make in school.

  6. Ciao Kelly,

    You are so right. Even when I wrote on Flickr to Omino and he said he’d rather hear what I have to say then just tell me. He was so right about that. It’s much better to just enjoy something and take your own personal thoughts away from it. And then yes, it’s nice to find out the artistic intent after.

    Not sure just yet what Omino71 and Mr. Klevra intended. They both thanked me for what I wrote, but I’ll try to pry more info. The red background is textured and it exactly those things we used to make Valentine’s out of! They actually also sent larger versions to Brazil and Belgium for exhibition in poster shows.

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