My Lenten journey began when Marea Haslett gave us a tour of the High Museum. I was particularly taken with a piece by Stefan Bondell, “Pyramid.” It is a dark picture composed of three figures – one prostrate in prayer, one walking with a prayer book, and a third commanding figure at the pentacle of the triangle, arms outstretched, larger than life. I was jolted as I recognized the top figure as a victim of torture that was conducted in my name at Abu Ghraib.
My early sketches and small paintings re-imagined this haunting trinity. I reshaped it as a trinity of innocent Iraqi prisoners on blocks, each being tortured in my name. As the time to put brush to paper came, I could not do it. I was not brave enough. I was ashamed.
Instead, I painted this piece, one that reflects the hope I seek, during this time of waiting for the coronavirus to pass. I am anxious here on “this fragile earth, our island home.” I feel suspended in time and long for the comfort of Easter.
42 Then (the thief) said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
According to tradition, dogwood blossoms symbolize rebirth and resurrection. The four petals of a blossom form a delicate cross, yet the dogwood branches are strong. At this time of year, Atlanta offers us many of these to enjoy and ponder.
Jesus offers hope and unconditional love. I offer this piece as a symbol of my hope and love for us. Jesus’s hand is outstretched to the thief but also to me and to you.