Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Resurrection Icon

I like creativity, and I like icons as windows into the story of salvation.  Today, I’ve been working on an image based on a traditional icon of the Resurrection, which depicts not the event as history (women approaching the tomb, soldiers guarding it, earthquake, angel) but as theology: what this event achieves and signifies.

In the first image, we see Jesus exiting the tomb.  The tomb is depicted as a stylised vulva, making the theological statement that physical death is the birth-passage from one form of life into another: employing the analogy of the world experienced from within the womb (distorted sounds, light and dark) and then experienced through sight and sound and touch and taste and smell.  The labia are always white; the inner-lining often blues and silver or yellows and gold.

In the second image, we see hell, depicted by barren rocks, represented behind Jesus.  And under his feet, the smashed-down gates of hell, its broken locks and discarded keys.  The theological statements being made are that Jesus went to hell, and defeated spiritual death (sometimes death, in this sense, is depicted as a body, or as a collection of scattered bones, lying under the fallen gates).

In the third image, we see Adam and Eve, representing humanity, being raised from death to life by Jesus.  They are depicted in funeral-clothes, usually in grey and red-brown respectively, symbolising the dust/earth from which we come and to which we return.  (Sometimes other figures are included: King David, King Solomon and John the Baptist on Jesus’ right; Adam and Eve’s martyred son Abel, and two figures representing the Gentiles on Jesus’ left.)

This traditional icon is full of theological significance.

How would you depict the resurrection through art?  What – and who – would you include?  What colours would you employ, and why?

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