Next week the Al Quds gallery at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington will open an exhibit by Katie Miranda. The opening reception is October 11, and it runs through November 1. We asked Katie, who is a contributing artist at our site, to tell us about it.
The show is titled Sumoud and Todamon which means Steadfastness and Solidarity in Arabic. One of the paintings in the exhibit will be my version of a Pietà. Pietà means “pity” or “compassion” in Italian and it describes the Christian theme of artworks depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus. The most famous Pietà is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo.
In 2004 I had an idea in my head to paint a Pietà on the apartheid wall and I was able to realize that dream. Unfortunately the mural was spray painted over with lots of graffiti and I’ve wanted to redo it ever since and was particularly motivated by the tragic loss of precious lives from the Great March of Return. One feels very helpless on the other side of the world, watching people being massacred for participating in demonstrations that, where we live, would not be met by such lethal means. Those of us living in liberal democracies should never take for granted the hard won freedoms we have.
While painting Mary’s scarf I couldn’t help but think of western society’s obsession with a Muslim woman’s hijab, and at the same time, western art is full of images of Mary with her hair covered and no one bats an eye. But in western society, a woman covering her hair can be the subject of pity, ridicule, contempt and, as in France, legislation against her hijab. Yet all the great religious art of Europe for millennia depicts women with their hair covered.
If you’re in the D.C. area I’d love to see you at the reception on October 11, 2019.