Saturday, June 4, 2011


The image of the Wound has played an important part in spiritual imagery. A liturgical Collect says "Grant, O Lord, that in your wounds we may find our safety." A hymn says "Hide me in your wounds". The artist Joseph Beuys used to say to his students: "Show me your wounds!" Here the wound is understood as a source of creativity, and a new vision of Reality. The mystic Kabir said that only those who are wounded by the Word, can understand the sufferings of others. One of the most moving images that many Christian artists have treated is that of the doubting Thomas who demanded to see the wounds of the Risen Christ, before he would believe. In my painting of this theme I have represented Thomas as a high caste believer looking at the wounds of a tribal or Adivasi Jesus. The image of the parable of the son who returns to his Father and Brother after repenting a dissolute life, has fascinated many artists. Rembrandt's last masterpiece which is now on view in Russia, shows the return of the son, embraced by his Father. It has been suggested that the youth who is returning is a self portrait, as also is the figure of the old Father who receives the son with love and compassion. In a strange way the figure of the son who comes back represents an essential element of the human condition, and is not just a sign of misery and defeat, but also of a transformation which reveals what is most precious in the heart of humanity, and what is most creative in human relationships.

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