Although it is difficult to forget Her feast day in this City of Angels, I did.
Driving around the streets of Boyle Heights , exploring with the Beloved, I stumbled upon many charming vignettes dedicated to Marian devotion.
Somewhere in Boyle Heights
I particularly love the images of household necessities flanking the deity.
The tale of Juan diego’s encounter on December 9th 1531 is well known.In 1754 Benedict XIV declared the Guadalupe as Patroness of New Spain.
If the Spaniards thought that switching the goddess Tonantzin with a brown skinned Madonna would secure indigenous loyalty to the Mother Church; they probably hadn’t counted on Miguel Hidalgo’s rallying his countrymen to revolution with his 1810 Cry of Independence, “Death to the Spaniards and long live the Virgin of Guadalupe”.
Standard of Miguel Hidalgo
It is difficult to not feel that Virgin of Guadalupe has been used as a political tool for multiple agendas.
She isn’t the first incarnation of maternity to have aroused controversy, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary (1996) comes to mind. This painting caused a bit of a row in 1999 when it was part of the Brooklyn Museum’ s Sensation exhibition. Although the painting in my opinion is inoffensive, the controversy arose when area Catholics objected to Ofili’s use of elephant dung as one of the materials used to create the image. Ofili had used elephant dung in previous works as an exploration of his Nigerian heritage. That was not how the area Catholics saw it; the Holy Mother was being defamed.
The Holy Virgin Mary
b. October 10th 1968
Alphonse Mucha expressed his outrage at the cultural excesses of the Austro Hungarian empires desire to annihilate Czech culture. His 1912 poster the Lottery of National Unity was an elegant campaign for funds needed to support the private schools devoted to preserving the Czech language in the face of Teutonic repression.
Lottery of National Unity
Although I have little to substantiate the claim I personally believe the German Expressionist painting by Otto Mueller (1874-1930) The Polish Family expresses similar outrage at injustice.
The Polish Family
The unconventional interpretations of the Virgin inspired me to create my own, drawing upon my brief tutelage under the Russian iconographer Vladislav Andreyev I attempted to create a visual Act of Contrition for Western Excess. Upon a base of reclaimed plywood, I assembled a day’s worth of my recycled trash. It is telling that although the plywood was 4 feet by 3, I was unable to make use of it all. The following is the modest result of my efforts, I am afraid it was perhaps best left as a theory. I appreciate your indulgence.
Our Lady of Perpetual Refuse
by the author
Please enjoy this feast day as it draws to a near, if you are as fortunate as I am to be able to stumble upon impromptu shrines, enjoy them for their charm and heartfelt sentiment.
Take care, and have a marvelous week.