Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two pictures - two world views

Consider these two pictures. The one, the well known Pieta by Michaelangelo. The other, "Pieta" from Ecce Homo, by Elizabeth Ohlson Wallin (1998). The story of the photo piece is recorded in Kitt Cherry's Art that Dares, (Androgyne press, Berkeley CA, 2007, p.76):

The artist chose a number of "Jesus" figures and each "Jesus" was allowed to pick the scene in Jesus' life he wanted to play for himself. A gay man, who was dying of AIDS, chose the Pieta. He also picked who would play his grieving mother, and he chose a female fellow employee at the leather bar, who was well known for "mothering" gay men. The man playing "Jesus" said he hoped that people would remember him in the picture after he was dead, and the shoot was done at the door of the AIDS ward in a Stockholm hospital.

The extraordinary thing is, that the man who played "Jesus" in this picture experienced his own personal resurrection, because soon after taking the picture, he started taking anti-retrovirals. "Jesus is still alive!" said Ohlson Wallin, a decade later. And today, the AIDS ward no longer exists. Furthermore, in terms of the human species, AIDS is no longer a disease associated -almost exclusively as it was then - with gay men.

No comments:

Post a Comment