Pastor Bradley and the Racial Justice Committee have been encouraging committees to find ways to increase Gloria Dei’s inclusivity. The Art Committee saw an immediate opportunity in the prints created by New York artist Janet McKenzie. Her mostly biblical-themed artwork incorporates subjects from a wide range of cultural identities. The committee has just acquired and framed three prints that soon will be displayed across from the church library entrance.
Mary Mother of Mercy
The Mary, Mother of Mercy print features a Mayan child in the foreground. When it arrived from the printer in an off size, the artist allowed us to keep it and then sent the correct size. We suggested to her that Gloria Dei’s mission group could bring it to San Lucas Mission as a gift. McKenzie was delighted by the idea, and responded with some additional information. This is from McKenzie’s website:
Beloved Mother Mary protectively and lovingly holds humanity within her mantle. As she loved Jesus so she loves each one of us. The inclusive subjects within Mary’s mantle, archetypes symbolizing a small portion of the human race, honor diversity. The action of this painting was given to a child of Mayan heritage, this beautiful child from Guatemala, who represents indigenous people and Latin America. All have their eyes closed and are in communion with God except for the child who looks out to us for she is the voice of the innocent reminding of the purity of children who are the hope for the future. Commissioned by Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA in celebration of 2016 – The Year of Mercy.
A Brave and Quiet Heart (created in memory of those souls who lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando)
Longer description from McKenzie website:
The subject within A Brave and Quiet Heart offers a gesture of possibility while simply looking at the viewer, flanked by doves symbolizing this person’s inherent sanctity, something that is so often forgotten or dismissed. The pride flag is interpreted as inextricably part of their essence.
My hope is that A Brave and Quiet Heart will serve as a visual testament to hope over despair, to love over hate and to the memory of those souls who lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando – June 12, 2016. Janet McKenzie, June 12, 2018
“The Divine Journey – Companions of Love and Hope”
This work of art honors the feminine community. Fueled by memories of the past and created as a visual prayer for the present it is my hope this painting serves as a testament to the courage and strength of women into the future. Mary, the beloved foundational figure around which timeless women gather, reaches out to us through her gaze as her blessed child sleeps within her protection. Janet McKenzie, artist
Commissioned by Memorial Church, Harvard University and unveiled on the altar April 23, 2017 Jeffrey Blackwell, Harvard University, created this video – The Divine Journey – A Painter’s Mission
More information and artwork by the artist is available here