I was an exchange student in Brazil. I grew up in a bucolic BC community but seeing the favelas in Brazil was the first time I realized that intense economic disparity existed. Rio de Janeiro has very rich and very poor living together in tight proximity and the tension is palpable.
It was also the first time I was truly awed by a work of art. The scale and simplicity of the Cristo Redentor overlooking all that beauty and pain and facing the dawn with an arms-open pose is profound. It is visible from everywhere and every time I looked up and saw that unchanging accepting and forgiving pose, I was overcome. I don’t know why. Maybe it was a time when I desperately wanted to believe in a greater purpose or a more certain outcome and, for a moment, that iconic monument answered my question.
I suspect it’s the same reason why so many gravitate towards superhero movies. There is a cultural longing for a saviour and an inherent yearning for something with powers greater than ours to change the world and set things right, whatever our notion of right may be.
Acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″
Located at: Private Residence