Saturday, December 3, 2016

Secular Inclusion


At the Basilica religious gift shoppe,
ceramic females -
glassed in, shelved.
Yours for a price.


These are decorative pieces, a celebration of ordinary women, as women, or mothers.
There's a whole section of Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and Baby Jesus statues in traditional pose,
adjacent to the rosary, crucifix and religious medal display cases. But these ceramic ladies caught my attention.

Mothers and babies, a child releasing a peace dove - or is she trying to capture it?  (Can one hold on to Peace?)


Two quick snapshots taken during a visit to the Sanctuary with a friend recently.  'Tis the season -- Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men, and so forth.  Dove as the symbol of peace.  At what price, peace?  Can peace be bought?   I love the image, even without the symbolism - a child reaching towards (or releasing?)  a bird.  A reaching toward, and at the same time, a letting go. Metaphor for too many parallels.

And . . .

the need to . . . interpret what's seen.  Is that a choice, like holding onto, or letting go, of something? That you can see a thing (object, event, image) from different perspectives and attach (or dismiss) its perceived meaning.  Meanings are assigned (or taught); accepted or rejected.  If factory-produced, the packer just sees a fake-girl-with-bird statue, breakable.

I just really liked the image, regardless of what it may, or may not, mean.  If only I could figure out how to remove that price sign from the photograph. It protrudes, as a jarring distraction.

I re-looked at the photos and it occurred to me the figures might appreciate not being seen as a group, but individually. Ways of looking, where what initially draws is the whole picture (the group), but then you notice the details.  (Or it sometimes goes the other way, where you obsess over the details but fail to see the larger picture.  Both are ways of seeing, and not seeing; each enlightens in its own way.

Or not.  Sometimes an image is . . . just an image.   Girl. Bird. Price tag.

Interesting that the figures' faces are a blur, their individuality wiped out.  Commercialized art, portraying "types".  None had a mouth, yet they spoke to me, as being worthy of a second look.  (This propensity to anthropomorphize, another quirkery.)

My favorite remains the girl with the bird.