In this season of Advent...of waiting...of hoping, of COMING.... I had the privilege to paint this scene depicting Juan Diego (an indigenous American) presenting an image of the Virgin of Guadelupe (Mary coming to the Americas in the form of an indigenous woman). This apparition is said to have occurred only ten years after the conquest of Mexico by Spain. Notice how Juan Diego is looking toward the lighter skinned, crowned woman to the right (possibly representing Spain and the European Crown) and the Virgin gazes at the darker skinned indigenous person on the left. Taken as a whole, this image seems to tell the story of Guadelupe's raison d'etre...namely to blend cultures racially and religiously, the first 'mestiza' or 'the first Mexican' bringing together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness. Still, today we live in a time of waiting...we have dark-skinned Americans among us who are 'coming' and 'waiting'. They are experts at HOPING and waiting.
This is day two- (my version of Mary visiting Elizabeth as done by the Italian Renaissance artist Pontormo). I am painting on big pieces of corrugated metal that I am getting from a recycle place. It is a sturdy, big, cheap canvas substitute. Today in my reading, I learned of a thing called "Hobson's Choice". It is a situation where you don't REALLY have a choice...it is 'the thing that is offered' or nothing. In the case of Mary, we are told that she 'took the offer' to be God's choice and said, "Be it done to me according to your will". It was the epitome of grace and assent...the ultimate yes. Often immigrants are offered the same Hobson's Choice. They can assent to a new reality, 'go' to a new place, move toward a new life or....well, there is no 'or'. So they take the Hobson's Choice and do what must be done.