Friday, April 18, 2014

On a School's Wall (Kevin Pham)

            When passing by a certain school, a portrait of the Virgin Mary is visible from the street and to anyone happening to pass by on that street. The place in question is the Maria Regina School on Van Ness Ave. The work is done directly on the wall of the school, which from the name alone seems to be a catholic school. The work depicts Mary with a crown, surrounded by clouds which most likely represent heaven. The colors consist of mostly blues and whites with various lighter tones and tints, colors that are often associated with Mary and refer to being "Queen of Heaven." Mary is posed with both arms down and reaching out to either side of her, a very common pose for saints and usually is meant to show holiness or refer to the act of giving a blessing. A majority of the lines on the work are rounded and soft, with very few if any sharp lines in the work, giving the work a more gentle and serene feeling.
            Similar to how one often see various religious people try to get people to convert, this work may be a similar type of advertising. The interesting thing is that this school is also near a church, so most likely there are a number of catholic and Christian students there, hence the reason for the portrait of Mary. However, the fact that it is on the outside wall of the school and in plain sight for any driver or person walking by to see is probably to draw attention. Most likely, the portrait is meant to draw attention to Catholicism or to remind people of religious spirituality. Though this is difficult to say as there are many personal aspects that a viewer may relate depending on personal experience and whether they are Christian or not. Though it may just act as a way to breed familiarity and calming through serene scenery. Anyone who drives down that road often will see it and become a bit accustomed to it eventually.
            Another way to look at this portrait is a reminder to Christians to worship and pray to God or to any of the various angels and saints. In other words, it is a reminder to follow the faith and keep its teachings and live morally. As Mary is a mother figure, the idea to live morally is reinforced with serenity and piety such that a mother would have, or at least appear to have. In any sense of its meaning, it brings to mind one's own religious beliefs or morals. So its main purpose may be to make one reflect on yourself, the things you believe in, and contemplate on your own place in the world. The image is meant to make one think of the simple everyday that they experience more carefully and judge for ourselves whether we are living correctly or not.

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