Construction looping in on itself and holy motherhood
*a stream-of-consciousness post*
I was looking for source images for the pieta painting. I came up with it over a year ago but I’ve been working on other things. It’s an alleyway with a benevolent mother figure holding a homeless person (sex indeterminate) in her lap, done in the style of a Renaissance Pieta. The working title is “everyone was once someone’s baby (or should have been)”.
So, image search… nothing that I would take entire… just various details of alleys, trash cans, dumpsters, shopping carts. Things to take bits any pieces from, not plagiarize. I’ve taken my own pictures too, but the more I have to work from the better. I nearly had a critical mass when I saw this image on a “shopping cart homeless” image search.
This just floored me. That it should circle back to a Jesus character. It’s true if the records are to be believed- he lived homeless for much of the time (or as a wandering guest) and preached against wealth among many other things. Funny that he should turn up there.
However, despite my study of the history of world religions and religious art and architecture, I was doing this piece less out of any religious message and more out of my own response to motherhood. The pieta image has taken on new meaning for me, as has the suffering of others. I cannot help looking at any person in trouble, however old without thinking “where is their mommy now?”. I find it funny and fitting that somehow even this person revered as a god should also end up in the end in his mother’s lap. In a way that is the ultimate Home- not a place, but where one finds true compassion.
There is something holy in motherhood. Not necessarily in a religious sense (though there is plenty of that too), but in being in that space where nothing matters but care for one’s child. That one’s duty is to make it all better even though that is inevitably impossible. I realize that motherhood is also frequently little sleep, frustration, and bitter tears. There are many people who can’t stand their mothers, and often for good reason… but this is what it is meant to be. That place where the sleeping baby is cradled with all the love and hope in the world. When I see a homeless person I think of that and wonder how they got here from there, and if they ever had that.