But in the arts I'm more familiar with - well, I have a temporary banjo strap in place. (Once the current project is off my loom, I intend to warp it with a threaded in crow's foot/triangle pattern that will make a nice wide and strong strap.) What's currently on is an old inkle strap that I used to use as a belt. And I modified the bag at the back of Pete Seeger's banjo book to work a little better for me and sewed one up out of some really ugly blue paisley cotton upholstery fabric I once found at a yard sale. All I need to finish it is a long zipper. (The longest one in my sewing basket was a mere 22 inches and fell about 6 inches short.)
And then I heard about the milk chocolate Jesus from Don over at Country Contemplative. An artist created a sculpture of Jesus on the cross from 200 pounds of milk chocolate. The sculpture portrays him naked and anatomically correct. Predictably, some folks pitched a fit, at least one calling it "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever" and the show was cancelled. Interestingly, when I visited the BBC site, one of the most viewed stories there concerned the suffering of lepers in India. I would have thought that that would be more engaging than a chocolate sculpture, especially given that there are already chocolate crosses for Easter, and a Jesus pan that looks like you'd maybe get a month's use out of it before the nonstick coating began to flake off. Perhaps they never saw the kick balls with crosses on them. Or the cross shaped suckers available for $4.95 a dozen. (Not to mention the kind with swirls or the ones with popping candy you can dip the cross into.) Oh, and I did find a chocolate crucifix, by the way, along with chocolate images of Jesus and Mary. And, oddly enough, a chocolate Torah. Wha?
Or maybe the problem is the nudity. Please. The Romans were hardly known for their touchy-feely, bleeding heart lovingkindness toward convicts. I mean, they'd already sentenced him to die by torture, a little exposure wasn't going to bother them even a tiny bit, especially since the local culture had far stricter modesty taboos, which would only make the punishment that much worse. And I can't imagine that this is the first such depiction, though probably the first in 200 pounds of milk chocolate. Actually, there are tons of pictures of naked baby jesus from the Renaissance. And frankly folks, I just don't see a little nudity as worse than genocide in Darfur, war in Iraq, or even than pollution in the Chesapeake. For pity's sake, can we take that outrage and channel it toward making this world a little better?
So I found myself proposing crucifixion scenes:
Jesus dressed in an orange jumpsuit with bandaged eyes. The soldiers below playing electronic poker. The whole thing surrounded by loose loops of barbed wire.
Jesus dressed in battle fatigues, possibly with one leg missing.
Jesus dressed in a bag over his head, with electrodes attached to the sites of the 5 wounds. I’d make this one interactive, with a button below it. Possibly the button would start a sound recording with the “Eli, Eli…” said not in Aramaic, but in English and Arabic.
No, they’re not pretty, and no, they’re not traditional. They’re not meant to be. I’d be very tempted to put an image of a hammer and nails on the gallery handout, were I to do this as a show.
For the record, this isn’t even close to the type of art I make, but if I were going to do a crucifixion piece, this is how I’d do it. Who are we crucifying today?